AURUKUN has received a boost to employment opportunities with the launch of Rio Tinto’s Community Commute service.
The service means employees can travel by road from Aurukun to Rio Tinto’s Amrun mine via the south gate access road and they don’t need to live in Weipa or catch the ferry to work at Amrun.
Up to 10 employees will use this service (options available to suit each crew), which is expected to grow with the needs of the community.
Rio Tinto and local organisations and businesses have worked together on this solution to make it easier for people to get to work.
Rio Tinto Indigenous employment and development superintendent Sasha Busch said the service would allow more people to access jobs, meaning more opportunities for local people.
“I feel proud to be part of this project that contributes to improving opportunities for people in our communities while respecting the importance of the continued connectedness to country and family,” she said.
“This will support a more sustainable work/life balance for all our existing and future employees from Aurukun.”
For proud Wik woman Nikaela Keridun, a trainee in the land and sea management program, the service will have a big benefit for her young family.
“For my kids, it means everything,” she said.
“They want me home as much as I want to be home with them and it sometimes gets hard to be able to go back on days off with fuel costs and having to support them financially, as well as the families that support me.
“This service will allow for less strain on my extended families to care for my children, while allowing me to have a career for my children’s future benefit.”
Rio Tinto Weipa general manager Shona Markham said it was a win-win for the company and employees.
“Rio Tinto acknowledges and respects the importance of connection to Country for our Indigenous employees,” she said.
“We need to make it easier for people to get home to their communities and families and we hope this service will do that.”