Digging up the dirt on mine’s record of Aboriginal employment

INCLUSIVE: Kenjarhy Aboriginal Services director Brad Draper is calling on Cadia Valley Operations to employ more indigenous people. 
Photo: STEVE GOSCH

INCLUSIVE: Kenjarhy Aboriginal Services director Brad Draper is calling on Cadia Valley Operations to employ more indigenous people. Photo: STEVE GOSCH

AN indigenous employment service director has said the lack of indigenous representation in the Newcrest workforce at Cadia was “appalling” and challenged the mining company to employ the traditional owners of the land. 

Kenjarhy Aboriginal Services director Brad Draper has 25 years’ experience in employment services, is indigenous and says only about five employees at the mine were indigenous. 

“Aboriginal people don’t want a hand-out, they want jobs,” he said. 

“There are a lot of issues here ... anti-social problems and its about employment. Give people jobs where they’re on about $70,000 to $80,000 a year.”

However a Cadia Valley Operations (CVO) spokesperson would not confirm the figure and would not provide details on the number of indigenous workers at the mine, nor the total number of workers at the mine. 

General manager Tony McPaul, was not available for interview but in a statement, the spokesperson said CVO did not keep records of the race or nationality of its employees and contractors, nor did it discriminate “in any way” based on race or nationality.

But Mr Draper said the response was not good enough. 

He called on the company to allocate indigenous identified positions, jobs specifically for indigenous employees where 10 per cent of the workforce must be indigenous, similar to programs in government departments. 

“We have created an industry training company that delivers services to mainstream Australia, but is owned by Kenjarhy, so to say our people are not trained and can’t be trained to undertake the works, is rubbish,” he said.

“It is an easy out.”

CVO supported groups in Orange financially but the “hand-out” mentality was not what the community needed, Mr Draper said. 

The spokesperson said CVO enjoyed a good working relationship with the Orange Local Aboriginal Land Council and worked collaboratively with the council on development of support and employment programs and commercial businesses for the benefit of the Aboriginal community.

The Orange Aboriginal Land Council was contacted for comment. 

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