Wirlu-Murra Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation

Wirlu-Murra Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation directors Charmaine Adams, Vince Adams and Paul Aubrey talk about their involvement in the Billion Opportunities program.

What work do you have with Fortescue at the moment?

Paul:  Currently we've got a road maintenance contract, which is in joint venture with another traditional owner group, who is Eastern Girruma and Fortescue have contracted us for five years. We've also got the bus contract on site. And we've also got the Damn wall project, which is a bit smaller that's still nine months work.

We've also the cross cultural training on site at Solomon in partnership with Eastern Girruma. We’re  educating non-indigenous employees, and indigenous employees about our laws and customs.

What do you hope comes out of your contracts with Fortescue?

Paul: I'm hoping, I guess we're all hoping, that all Aboriginal contractors out there are working for  their communities. I hope we start breaking the cycle of welfare dependency and alcoholism. I hope we’re getting our kids better educated so they can aim for the higher jobs if you like. We want our kids and our kids’ kids to become engineers and managers of some of these places. 

How do you think the Billion Opportunities work in relation to that?

Paul: “I think with the opportunities we've been, and that we've taken that they will create more opportunities. And our families will hopefully then be able to afford better education for their kids and their kids’ kids.

Do you want to talk a little about owning your own business versus working for another company? Why is that important?
“Some of us have been in the mining industry a long time. But for most of our lives we've worked for someone else. Now the opportunities are there for us to work for ourselves and for other Aboriginal contractors.

“Nothing gives me more pride than to go and work for another Aboriginal contractor or our own contracting companies. The pride you feel. And in your own country. You can't ask for much better.

Do you see these opportunities as vital?

Charmaine:  When FMG came to Roebourne it opened the door for us to have these opportunities of having our own businesses, and being empowered. And the people in Roebourne have got their own self esteem. They've actually been empowered by FMG. They've actually given us something to look forward to, we went from being nobody to stepping up to having our own business.