As a remote and isolated community in Cape York, Aurukun is bereft of many services typically found in urban centres around the rest of Australia. Driver licensing and personal identification services are no exception. This does not mean that Aurukun has no need for such service support. The quarterly Joint Services events – coordinated by Cape York Employment (CYE) – remedy this.
“Joint Services is a one-stop-shop for locals to obtain forms of identification, licenses, and basic accreditation,” says Kyle Williams, an Administrative Support officer for Cape York Employment.
“Obtaining things such as driver licences is an opportunity that is not readily available in Aurukun, which is why Joint Services is so important in community.”
The event was run at the Aurukun Training Centre from 16 to 18 November; it was the fourth and final one for 2021. During the event, CYE staff assisted locals with services usually provided by the Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages, and Blue Card Services. They also welcomed every attendee and referred them to the other services present as required, including the Indigenous Driver Licensing Unit (IDLU), Services Australia, or Queensland Health who were providing Covid-19 vaccinations.
Obtaining a driver licence at Joint Services gives community members an increased sense of belonging and worth, because they know it’s the first step on a journey to a better future.
Barry Lea, QLD Indigenous Diver Licensing Unit
In total, 177 community members registered their attendance. Local JobSeekers obtained 107 licensing products; locals also applied for 24 birth certificates or other forms of identification.
According to Rachell Jose, CYE’s event lead for Joint Services, this support makes a significant difference in the lives of Aurukun’s residents. It aids in their employability, as many job applications now require a licence number for identification. It also relieves them from having to travel more than 2.5 hours one way to the nearest urban centre, Weipa, where the required services may not be as culturally considerate.
“A lot of CYE’s JobSeekers have English as a second or third language,” she says.
“If Aurukun community members had to travel to other towns or cities to get their licensing products processed, they wouldn’t get the specialised assistance that they receive here when filling out their applications.”
Far North Queensland’s IDLU, who have partnered with CYE at Joint Services for the past three years, provide culturally aware licensing services to Indigenous communities in Cape York and the Torres Strait Islands. During the event, they organised learner driver training and exams, provisional driving tests, and Hazard Perception Tests, among other administrative services.
Barry Lea, a Driving Examiner and Principal Customer Service Officer with IDLU, says that the Aurukun community is reaping amazing benefits because of IDLU’s longstanding partnership with CYE.
"Obtaining a driver licence at Joint Services gives community members an increased sense of belonging and worth, because they know it’s the first step on a journey to a better future,” he says.
“If we don’t supply these services, it’s the people on the ground that miss out and for too long … Indigenous communities have missed out.”