The Batemans Bay Bridge replacement project is exceeding state-wide employment targets with almost 45 per cent of the workforce being locals and large numbers of under- represented groups also employed on the project.
Member for Bega, Andrew Constance said “There is a workforce of 133 people currently on the project, and this is expected to grow to 200 as progress on the new bridge is made.”
“Almost 45 per cent of the workforce is made up of local employees, and through initiatives such as the Training Hub, these employees are gaining valuable knowledge and are being upskilled. This upskilling is allowing skills shortages to be filled and improving their future job prospects.
“This project has exceeded Infrastructure Skills Legacy Program targets set by the Department of Industry for four main groups of employees, Aboriginal, under-25, women in non-traditional pathways and the long-term unemployed.
“We are hitting a number of targets on the project and are four percent above the state target for women in non-traditional pathways, and 14 per cent of the workforce are Aboriginal employees,” Mr Constance said. The first class graduated from the Training Hub in March this year and consisted of 16 Aboriginal people who completed a Civil Construction Job Readiness program. A second Civil Construction Job Ready program was completed by 16 long-term unemployed participants during May and June, including seven Aboriginal people.
A Transport for NSW spokesperson told the Beagle "Most of the graduates are now working full-time on the project and are completing a Certificate 2 Traineeship in Civil Construction. Their work includes operating small plant and equipment, using hand and power tools, identifying, locating and protecting underground services, and manual excavations.
Above: some of the trainees standing in front of an artwork by local Aboriginal artist Bronwen Smith, which was unveiled at the recent NAIDOC celebrations hosted at the Batemans Bay Bridge replacement site office. The artwork was commissioned by the project team and will be on display at the site office.
The artwork depicts the Yuin people who have lived along the shores of the Bindoo (Clyde River) for thousands of years. In it, you can see the Bindoo (Clyde River), mara (fish), bimbalars (oysters, shellfish) and bilima (turtles). The artwork also represents that this was also an important river crossing for the Yuin people, who used canoes to cross the river. The artwork wishes us “Walawaani” (“a safe journey home”).
The project team is also committed to recognising the local Aboriginal community in the project’s design. An Aboriginal heritage interpretive area and public mural is planned on the northern foreshore to celebrate the region’s heritage and cultural values. The project team recently asked for feedback on these features and will have more detail once feedback has been considered. The areas will be developed further in consultation with the community.