MUA Takes The Lead In Signing Social Compact To Back Aboriginal Action

The Maritime Union of Australia is proud to join the North Queensland Land Council (NQLC), sixteen other unions and the Queensland Council of Unions in signing a Social Compact to support delivering better outcomes in education, health, jobs and training.

The MUA has led the push for a Social Compact and is proud that 15 other unions are joining in signing the agreement.

Many unions joined the agreement to support NQLC representatives during project and wage negotiations involving developments and industry on Aboriginal land.

"The Social Compact is the first of its type in Queensland, and the MUA is proud to have been at the forefront of seeing it realized," said Assistant National Secretary Ian Bray.

"Our union has always been committed to seeing training and jobs for Aboriginal people, and the compact is a practical way we can be involved in that.

"Importantly, it will impact on industries often located on Aboriginal land, including Queensland's mining and minerals processing industries."

Broad union support for the Compact has shown the union movement's determination to close the gap between Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander disadvantage.

"This agreement will ensure that union expertise, influence and knowledge are key components in the training, job support and industry development for Aboriginal people," said Mr Bray.

"The giant corporations coming into Queensland are doing very little to advance the rights of and opportunities for the traditional custodians of many of those resources and assets.

"The Social Compact will ensure a sustained, meaningful and respectful partnership between unions, the Land Council and Aboriginal communities into the future.

"It will provide a framework for us all to ensure that Aboriginal communities are able to negotiate a fair share of the development riches coming from Queensland.

The compact also ensures that Government organizations, such as Queensland Departments, will also be required to involve relevant unions when it negotiates service agreements with Aboriginal communities.

The QCU is the first trade and Labour council in the country to sign a social compact agreement with an Aboriginal Land Council.

"The MUA is very proud to have led the charge for a Compact, and we are delighted to be signing it and joining our comrades in the continued fight for social justice for all Australians."

NQLC Chairperson, Terry O'Shane said," I hope that the Compact will usher in a new era of positive relationships between unions, Land Councils and Aboriginal communities,".

The Social Compact gives real meaning to "Closing the Gap". Employment and training will be taken out of the compensation regime of Indigenous Land Use Agreements and similar negotiations and will be treated as a right. 

The MUA offers its deepest thanks to the following comrades who have really worked to make this compact a reality: Peter Simpson (State Secretary, ETU), Jim Valery (State Secretary, CFMEU Mining), Terry O'Shane (NQLC and MUA member), Gwen Taylor (Cultural Liaison Officer QCU) and Lara Watson (CFMEU Mining Cultural Liaison Officer).