Aboriginal employment plan helping Redfern turn the corner

Article image - Aboriginal employment plan helping Redfern turn the corner

The City of Sydney has introduced an Aboriginal Employment Plan to ensure Indigenous workers benefit from the $20 million upgrade of Redfern and Regent streets – two prominent streets in the Sydney area.

Developed in conjunction with contractor, Ford Civil Contracting, the plan includes the ongoing involvement of Aboriginal apprentices and trainees and
the employment of Aboriginal labourers and tradesmen in the streetscape upgrade.

“The Aboriginal Employment Plan ensures that Aboriginal workers play a key role in the revitalisation of an area that has such a proud Indigenous heritage, and one that is too often neglected by all levels of government,” said Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore.

The plan also provides young Aboriginal trainees with valuable mentoring to assist in furthering their careers.

The Redfern development includes burying power lines, widening and improving footpaths with new paving, new lighting, new street furniture and new trees.

Jack Dunn, who lives in Redfern, is a bricklayer by trade and has secured a full time position with Ford Civil Contracting. He said it is a positive experience working in a team and improving his home suburb.

“This plan has really given me a window of opportunity,” Jack Dunn said. “It is great to be given a go and to be given a job with responsibility. It is not about colour – it’s about esteem and respect.”

Jack Dunn said he is particularly proud to be working in Redfern.

“We are taking the stigma away from Redfern and giving it a new facelift,” he said. “You’ll see a new Redfern soon with new shops and restaurants. It is starting to look fantastic. Redfern has really turned a corner.”

Blake Ritchie, a young landscape gardening apprentice, said the scheme has helped him take a big step forward.

“I am really enjoying the work and learning a lot,” he said.

The City of Sydney is planning to implement a similar scheme with its $22 million upgrade of Redfern Park due to commence in May 2007.