Cape York bauxite mining provides training and jobs for Aborigines in isolated towns – by Peter Michael (The Courier-Mail – September 11, 2016)

CAPE York’s vast reserves of bauxite are delivering pay dirt for some of the state’s most disadvantaged Aboriginal clans. Wik traditional owner Murray Korkatain is in the vanguard of a pipeline of training and jobs in bauxite mining.

He’s about to move into a Local Aboriginal Person traineeship as a mine operator, learning to work heavy equipment in an 18-month program. “I’ve had to overcome a lot of challenges, but I’m glad that I stuck at it because I’m excited to start my traineeship,” the Rio Tinto worker said yesterday.

“My motivation for work and to progress my career is to be a good role model for my children in Aurukun and ­others in the community. “My advice for others in Aurukun is to grab opportunities and give it a go. It’s not easy but it’s worth it.

Mining giant Rio Tinto, one of the nation’s largest private sector employers of indigenous people, is behind the push to get locals job-ready to break the cycle of welfare dependency and dysfunction in isolated towns.

Under the Kinections pre-employment program, they provide medical tests, literacy and numeracy classes, and driver training for licences. Today there are 174 people from the 12 traditional-owner groups in the western Cape York region working within Rio’s operations and based at Weipa.

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