Telstra creates Indigenous jobs in remote communities
Remote Indigenous communities in the Torres Strait Islands and Northern Peninsula Area in Far North Queensland will have access to increased job opportunities thanks to a partnership with Telstra.
Today a pilot program for local Indigenous people to train and gain employment with organisations contracted to clean and maintain grounds around key Telstra communication network facilities was announced on Thursday Island.
The Torres Strait and the Northern Peninsula Area (NPA) pilot follows similar pilot programs already underway on the Coburg and Cox peninsulas in the Northern Territory where Telstra is working with the Northern Land Council through their ranger program.
Head of Telstra’s Indigenous Directorate Lauren Ganley said the aim was to expand the program to communities across Australia.
“This program will help bring sustainable employment and training opportunities and business skills into remote Indigenous communities located near Telstra’s infrastructure,” Ms Ganley said.
“We are also working with the companies we contract to undertake this work, to upskill their workforce and assist them to increase their ability to tender for other non-Telstra related work.
“We have a large network of key facilities across regional and remote Australia including radio towers, mobile base stations and exchanges. Grounds maintenance for these facilities is as critical as it often is challenging because they’re so remote - vegetation growth can make it tough for our technicians to get to key communications equipment needing maintenance or repair, it can grow over crucial solar panels and transmitters, interfering with signals, and snakes and vermin can also be encouraged to take up residence at our sites. The point is this is important work that will help keep the communications network in the area going.”
In the Torres Strait and NPA, Joe Di Bella from North Queensland Commercial Consulting Services (NQCCS) Pty Ltd has partnered with local cleaning and gardening contractor Roy Boiiz Cleaning and Gardening Services, tailoring training courses to train and mentor their staff on grounds maintenance and cleaning.
Training delivered to Roy Boiiz has helped the company develop its business plan and a better understanding of the competitive tendering process.
Roy Pearce of Roy Boiiz said the partnership had already seen the company increase its workforce from four to seven.
“A training curriculum has been tailored to suit participants in this program and as a result our employees have successfully completed Telstra’s induction process,” Mr Pearce said.
“There are plans to extend training to include general pest control, noxious weeds and mosquito control.
“We hope our workforce will continue to grow thanks to this pilot project, and look forward to continuing our work with NQCCS who have committed to provide training and mentoring locally in communities to support us.”
Ms Ganley said the partnership was the latest example of Telstra’s commitment to Indigenous Australia.
“Partnerships such as the one we’re announcing today are sustainable in the long-term, to make a positive and lasting difference for Indigenous communities and help strengthen people’s connections to their community,” Ms Ganley said.
- Telstra has a significant number of network sites (Telstra assets) located in regional and remote areas across Australia, including radio towers, mobile base stations and exchanges.
- Many sites are challenging to service regularly due to their remote locations.
- This can results in uncontrolled vegetation growth which impacts service delivery by preventing service personnel accessing the site for maintenance and/or fault restoration.
- The vegetation can grow over crucial solar panels and transmitters, blocking signals.
- Snakes and vermin also take up residence in the vegetation and our sites, causing damage.
- Long dry grass presents a fire hazard to our assets and an eye sore to the communities.
- Telstra is seeking to partner with local Indigenous groups in the Northern Territory and Torres Strait to undertake grounds maintenance of Telstra assets under an agreement with a third party organisation.
- In the Northern Territory Telstra is partnering with the Northern Land Council, and in Queensland the North Queensland Commercial Consultancy Services (NQCCS) and Roy Boiiz Cleaning to run training courses to train and mentor Indigenous businesses focused on grounds maintenance and cleaning.
- The training and mentoring provided via these business organizations will assist them to successfully tender for other non-Telstra related work, maximizing the impact of the program.
- The agreement will comply with Procurement and OH&S guidelines and be commercially robust.
- The proposed solution will provide ongoing jobs for Indigenous people living in remote communities and provide Telstra with a solution to ground maintenance issues.
- To date Telstra has rolled out pilot programs in the NT to ten sites across Cox Peninsula & Coburg Peninsula and will now run pilot programs across Queensland at 20 sites in the Torres Strait & nine sites in the Northern Peninsula Area.
- The programs partner with organizations which provide appropriate governance and training for Indigenous groups to be able to undertake the scope of work.
- The scope of work for the pilot project is negotiated with the organisation, along with timings and pricing.
- Long term, Telstra is proposing to roll the program out across other regional and remote areas throughout Australia.