The arrival of the tugboat Wandilla in Sydney this Thursday, August 29, will signal the beginning of a new project that aims to provide young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders with the opportunity to receive training and workforce participation in the maritime industry.
Wandilla will sail into Sydney Harbour before being handed over in a traditional indigenous smoking ceremony to the Tribal Warrior Association — a non-profit, Aboriginal run community organisation — at 11am at the Australian Maritime Museum’s main wharf in Darling Harbour.
The Maritime Union of Australia, which negotiated the donation of the tugboat by Svitzer Australia, said ensuring young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people had access to the training needed to land gainful employment in the maritime industry has long been a priority for the union.
MUA assistant national secretary Ian Bray said he was extremely passionate about the cause and said the partnership with Tribal Warrior had resulted in a project which will deliver specialised training to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participants, guaranteeing them a job in the maritime industry.
“While some people might think the union and a major shipping company make strange bedfellows, the MUA has a long history of being a progressive and approachable organisation that is willing to work with any company to achieve a common goal,” Mr Bray said.
“I know we often get a bad rap from the media saying we are hard to deal with but that’s simply not the case.
“An opportunity arose for us to collaborate with Tribal Warrior, an organisation with a fantastic ethos, and when we approached Svitzer they didn’t hesitate to help out.”
Mr Bray said some of Australia’s most disadvantaged communities were adjacent to multi-million dollar resource projects, yet there had been a failure to meaningfully engage local young Aboriginal people in the industry.
“This project will provide industry-standard training and qualifications, making the participants job-ready and attractive to employers,” he said.
What: Tugboat to be handed over to Tribal Warrior Association
When: 11am, Thursday 29 August, 2013
Where: Australian Maritime Museum, 2 Murray St, Darling Harbour
Photo by James Freeman