The Wait is Over – Essential Services Visit Aurukun and Lockhart River

Cape York Employment held the first Joint Services events of 2023 in Aurukun in May, and Lockhart River in June.

An intake of more than 150 people accessed a variety of services,  including Licencing and Birth Certificate services, Blue Card, Services Australia (Centrelink), Mayi Market, Pama Platform, Pama Futures, Department of Seniors, Disability Services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships. Joining the Aurukun Joint Services, the 51st Battalion of the Far North Queensland proved popular among the locals who stopped in to have a yarn about a career in the military.

Day one at Aurukun Joint Services saw more than 70 community members access essential services, many waiting months for this event to follow up on employment-related applications for licencing, blue card, yellow card and a variety of other services. This year there was a record number of applications for licencing services], including hazard perception testing, with Blue Card also being in huge demand. Many family groups also presented together to the ‘one-stop-shop’ to get their business sorted.

After waiting months for his chance to take his practical driving exam, Elvis Bowenda was successful in passing his P2 driving test! Elvis was able to take his practical exam thanks to the Indigenous Driver Licencing Unit who were at our Aurukun Joint Services event during May.

Aurukun Shire Council worker Ronald Kowearepta has been working in Parks and Gardens since March this year, with a vision of working his way up in through the ranks and gaining qualifications and tickets to progress in his career at the council.

Ronald came direct from six years of working at the Island and Cape store, where he says he gained experience in a multipurpose retail position. However, he always wanted to push himself towards a greater challenge, while also working outdoors and on country.

“I’ve always loved working on country and wanted a job where I could be outdoors and taking care of country. When the job at the council came up in March, I went for it. I’m really happy where I am but one of my goals has been to get my Medium Rigid (MR) Truck Licence so I could work the bin trucks.

“I’ve been waiting for the licencing mob to come to town, and today I did the test and was successful in getting my truck licence. The next time you see me I’ll be driving those bin trucks around Aurukun.”

Look to any Joint Services events held in the remote communities of Cape York, and you’ll find even more success stories like Ronald Kowearpta’s, and a lot of smiles from people kicking goals in their lives, in big and small ways.

Ronald got his Medium Rigid (MR) truck license at the Aurukun Joint Services event in May for his job with the local council.

Cape York Employment Engagement & Development Manager, Kere Geno said that Joint Services events were essential in closing the gap in access to vital services that people in remote communities needed for personal and employment opportunities.

“I’ve been involved in Joint Services for a few years now and it’s a great opportunity for the community to be able to come together and access all of the services they need in the one spot.

“The community really appreciate these services and they are desperately needed. It’s more than just the applications for licences and blue cards, even though these practical measures give people a real chance at finding and keeping employment. There’s a real sense of empowerment. It’s especially uplifting to see people come in a bit shy and nervous and sit for their driver’s test and come away with a win and a huge smile on their face, a sense of confidence that they’ve what they’ve set out to achieve,” Charlie said.

Simon Butcher, a Lockhart River attendee, recently started a new job with Lockhart River State School as a community engagement officer. After successfully applying for his Blue Card at the previous joint services event, Simon returned in June to get a licence for his new job.

Simon Butcher from Lockhart River got his license at the Joint Services event in June for his new job at Lockhart State School as a Community Engagement Officer.

“I teach the students culture and language. I teach them language once a week in the classrooms and get to take them out on Country. I work with the community to give them as many opportunities as possible. I need my licence to drive the school kids to and from school and off-campus locations.”

Kere and the Cape York Employment team are looking forward to their next joint services event, which will be held later on in the year.

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