Gladstone Alliance spokesman Michael O'Shane calls for more opportunities for indigenous workers on Curtis Island.
Gladstone Alliance spokesman Michael O'Shane calls for more opportunities for indigenous workers on Curtis Island. Rebecca Danslow

Indigenous workers protest lack of opportunities on Curtis

MEMBERS of the indigenous community say they have been left out when it comes to employment opportunities on Curtis Island.

About 20 members of the Gladstone Alliance rallied at the Bechtel office on Alf O'Rourke Drive last week.

The alliance consists of traditional owners from Gladstone and the surrounding areas.

Spokesman Michael O'Shane said the purpose was to speak to Bechtel about engaging the traditional owners.

"We want initiatives to be put in place to employ more traditional owners," he said.

"We're the traditional owners of the country," he said. "At the moment there's no difference between the mainstream and us.

"I know of less than 10 indigenous community members employed on the island out of a 7000 strong workforce."

Bechtel general manager Kevin Berg told protesters he would meet with them this week.

A Bechtel spokesman said, "We believe we are the largest employer of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Australians in the region with more than 150 working on these projects."

"On top of this, there are many more currently under consideration by our recruitment team for open positions."

Born and bred local Chantelle Johnson has applied for jobs with Bechtel in the past.
Born and bred local Chantelle Johnson has applied for jobs with Bechtel in the past. Rebecca Danslow

 

Indigenous workers say opportunities aren't there for them

AS a struggling single mum, Chantelle Johnson wants the best for her family. 

Two years ago, she applied for a job with Bechtel on Curtis Island.

She said she thought she had ticked all the boxes.

"I've got my six tickets to operate machinery and I got a certificate two in construction," Ms Johnson said.

She said she got no feedback as to why her application was unsuccessful.

Ms Johnson said Bechtel was not communicating enough with the indigenous community.

"We need programs that will benefit our people from the ground up," she said.

 "Our people are willing to get up and give it a go.

"But they're not making the opportunities open to us."


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