By Aurukun Mayor Dereck Walpo
Aurukun Shire Council is beginning to see our strategies to create employment in our community take shape with refurbishment projects using local labour and interest from companies wanting to set up business in the township.
While the nearby $2.7 billion Amrun bauxite project is attractive for prospective business, it is pleasing to see that many companies are looking at business opportunities beyond the mine and believe Aurukun could be an ideal base.
An earthmoving company, for example, is talking to us about establishing their Cape York operations here to pursue regional opportunities and they would train and employ Aurukun residents.
Employment for our people is integral to addressing social issues and is high on the agenda for the Aurukun Shire Council.
One of the important roles for any Council is to provide leadership to its community and our Corporate Plan does just that.
Our expectation is that any agencies or organisations that interact with our community will abide by the Council and community’s shared vision for Aurukun and undertake consistent programs that give effect to that vision.
Within the Plan are five key economic development goals to increase employment opportunities and business growth for Aurukun residents to break the welfare cycle.
These are to maximise opportunities from mining, provide employment and training, develop locally owned businesses, grow Council business and diversify our economy.
We have identified specific opportunities within these goals and some, such as the refurbishment of the Sports Centre for the PCYC and the transformation of the library into an Indigenous Knowledge Centre, are already underway.
Aurukun has a thriving arts community through the Wik and Kugu Art Centre which has an exhibition underway in Brisbane this month, followed closely by shows in Melbourne.
The artists are experimenting with new techniques to be unveiled in their exhibit at the Cairns and Indigenous Art Fair.
The recently commissioned Women’s Art Centre conducted workshops this month which added to the skills of established artists and brought in women keen to learn art for the first time.
Our beautiful wetland environment would be ideal for tourism activities that further showcase the culture of Aurukun’s Traditional Owners. Did you know the Aurukun wetlands are bigger than those in Kakadu?
As our community grows we see opportunities for small businesses in areas such as facilities cleaning, landscaping, cabinet making and mechanical repairs and on a larger scale for industrial estate development, sewerage upgrades and concrete batching.