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ATSIC Councillor in running for national award.



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ATSIC Councillor in Running for National Award

25/9/2002

A Gulf and West Queensland ATSIC Regional Councillor has travelled from Mt Isa to Canberra today as a finalist in the Commonwealth Government’s prestigious Corporate Leaders for Indigenous Employment awards.

Warren King has been nominated for the Department of Employment & Workplace Relations-sponsored award for his work with mining giant WMC Resources’ Indigenous Employment Program.

Warren is himself employed by WMC Resources as a community relations co-ordinator in Queensland’s north-west mineral province.

According to Warren WMC’s Indigenous employment programs have been an outstanding success with over one hundred Aboriginal people now employed on WMC projects across as full-time employees or contractors.

“Our program has worked because it provides meaningful training that will lead to full-time employment.

“It’s a real employment program which provides my people with real jobs won on merit not aboriginality.

“This is ground breaking stuff in an industry that has historically been fairly antagonistic towards Indigenous people. Ten years ago it was almost unheard of for Murris to work as permanent employees in the mining industry,” said Warren.

Warren points to the ownership of the WMC program by the Aboriginal community itself as the key factor in its success.

“To its credit the company has understood that initiatives aimed at the Indigenous community must be owned and managed by that community if they are to succeed.

Warren, a Kalkadunga (Kalkadoon) man, said that his program was also able to work closely with the ATSIC-funded Community Development Employment Project in the region.

“The coordination between our program and ATSIC’s local CDEP has given us a much greater efficiency in providing both training and employment; the two schemes compliment each other very well.

“We haven’t tried to do too much too soon but have worked steadily to ensure the program’s success. This year we’ve got four new trainees progressing well alongside the four we took on last year.

“The Federal Government has argued for some time now that the key to overcoming Indigenous disadvantage

in Australia is economic empowerment including employment and I am very proud that here in the north-west we are on the road to success.

“I’m hopeful that in the future the debilitating marginalisation of my people from the regional economy will be a thing of the past,” concluded Warren.

The award ceremony will take place at Parliament House Canberra this evening at 6.30 PM.

The award presentation will be made by Prime Minister John Howard.

Warren King 0407 732 029 Alastair Harris ATSIC Media 0409 658 177

 

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