Northern Territory Unions today celebrated the Larrakia People being formally included in employment talks over a multi-billion dollar gas project being built on their traditional lands.
Japanese energy giant INPEX has agreed to enter into tripartite talks with the Larrakia Nation Aboriginal Corporation (LNAC) and the Larrakia Development Corporation (LDC) over post construction work once the $34 billion dollar plant is complete.
It is estimated that the operational phase of the INPEX gas plant could be up to 50 years.
INPEX said the discussions will include commercial business opportunities, training and skills development, employment, as well as cultural and heritage matters.
MUA NT branch secretary Thomas Mayor said this was a big win for local Darwin people, here he is speaking to the ABC Radio:
“When the gas plant is built, Larrakia people want fair access to well paid jobs on the ships and the offshore and onshore facilities, not just for themselves, but for the Darwin locals that live with them in the community”
“We are tired of being paid lip service from large foreign companies. Locals, their kids and grandkids over 40 – 50 years of this gas plant can only be guaranteed fair access to training and employment through a binding and non-ambiguous Agreement
The MUA put the national spotlight on the issue last September, when it protested against the company failing to live up to promises about spreading the benefits of its gas project with the traditional land owners.
“This success for the Larrakia People is a result of community agitation and the MUA protest that attracted national attention to the issue.”
The win comes as the Federal Government yesterday handed down the annual Closing the Gap Report showing indigenous disadvantage is still firmly entrenched.
“Any lift in indigenous employment will help local communities better health and poverty outcomes,” Mr Mayor said.
The MUA has questioned the company’s decision to block union involvement in the training, jobs and careers campaign for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
“Who is INPEX to tell Aboriginal People who they can and cannot get advice and support from?
“Unions will be watching closely to ensure there is real progress and that an agreement is more than words on paper - but binding towards a better future for local people.”
Contact: MUA NT Branch Secretary Thomas Mayor, 0437 650 221