The road to creating possibilities

Gerald Pootchemunka’s respect for his Elders in Aurukun is so rich, he finds himself going above and beyond in his role as bus driver for Chivaree Aged Care for Aurukun Shire Council.

Whether it’s transporting them to their appointments or last-minute errands, Gerald always makes sure he is doing his best to support his Elders as they move through the community.

“Looking after my Elders in my community is important to me,” Gerald shared.

Before he commenced work at the aged age centre, Gerald was employed by Cape York Employment (CYE) through Community Projects. While working for CYE Gerald not only transported locals around town but he helped keep Aurukun spotless by trimming large bushes and mowing yards.

Community Projects is an NIAA trial that is giving Community Development Program (CDP) providers like CYE more flexibility on how they allocate a portion of their funding. Working with jobseekers, the communities and Cape York Institute for Policy and Leadership, CYE is creating meaningful jobs that benefit the boarder community. There is now a waiting list for locals looking to join the program, which is providing real jobs, proper wages and decent conditions to people across Australia.

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My time with Cape York Employment helped me realise what I need to do next is to serve my Elders.

Gerald Pootchemunka

The experience and skills Gerald gained from his time with Cape York Employment (CYE) enabled him to transition to market job as a bus driver for Chivaree Aged Care. He now transports elders in the community who need assistance or delivers refurbished mobility scooters.

Mobility scooters are essential for the locals who are reliant on them, however when they fail, it leaves them stranded. With someone like Gerald ready to help, locals can feel safer when going about their day-to-day activities.

With high employment and a lack of market jobs, people in Aurukun can easily fall into life of passive welfare. The new job created by Community Projects are great examples of participants taking an opportunity to step into the workforce and develop skills in line with their passions. These jobs not only benefit the community, but they also prepare the participants to take up suitable market jobs in the area, like Gerald did.


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