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NAIDOC week at Northern Connector

The Northern Connector Project has marked NAIDOC Week by celebrating the contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (ATSI) to the success of this important infrastructure project.

The Hon Kyam Maher, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, announced on Monday 3 July 2017 that the Northern Connector Project had significantly exceeded its two per cent target for Indigenous employment. As of the end of May 2017, 11 per cent of all onsite hours had been completed by ATSI people, with Aboriginal employees making up 8 per cent of the total Lendlease Engineering direct employees on the Project.

The Minister applauded Lendlease for their efforts in successfully working with five Industry partners which included Aboriginal owned Intract and ART Services, who operate the onsite café, Café de Kaurna, which assisted with the catering for Monday’s event.

Despite the chilly temperatures, the site was warmed by the performances of Maltirinthi Dancers, Jymain Pinku O'Neill and Nashawn Wadla Ferguson who danced up the beginning of NAIDOC Week for the Minister, Lendlease and DIT Northern Connector workers.

Minister Maher stated as part of his address:

“The dignity that a good well-paying job provides, is essential to overcome the disadvantage so many Aboriginal people face.”

Jeffrey Newchurch Chair, Kaurna Nation Cultural Heritage Association presented a tribal Shield to Lendlease Project Director Danny Parkinson and DIT Project Manager George Panagopoulos. Talking about the opportunities for employment on projects like the Northern Connector Jeffrey said “It brings pride and a sense of belonging”.    

Jon Whelan, DIT’s General Manager for Infrastructure Delivery, was pleased the Northern Connector Project was a part of the NAIDOC celebrations and said “all the employees of the Northern Connector Project were embracing NAIDOC Week alongside their Indigenous colleagues”.

Through NorthHub, the Northern Connector employment, skills and training centre, the Project has employed 37% of its staff from key target groups including people with barriers to employment, displaced automotive workers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and apprentices, trainees and cadets exceeding its 20 per cent target.

The project’s participation requirements of at least 90% of all on-site labour hours to be undertaken by South Australians have also been exceeding expectations.

The Northern Connector Project is a 985 million dollar project that will deliver a six-lane, 15.5km motorway connecting the Northern Expressway and Port Wakefield Road to the Port River Expressway and South Road Superway.

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