New maritime resources launched on NAIDOC week

4 July 2021

New resources aimed at improving safety for Aboriginal people on the state’s waterways have been launched by Transport for NSW as part of NAIDOC week.

Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance said the program includes safety animations, videos and a downloadable colouring book with drawings by an Indigenous artist.

"Waterways are important places for Aboriginal people to connect with family members and participate in cultural events, and we want everyone who heads out on the water to return home safely at the end of the day,” Mr Constance said.

“These are the first Aboriginal maritime safety resources the NSW Government has produced since the launch of the Aboriginal Maritime Safety Plan in November.”

Chief Executive Officer of maritime training company Tribal Warrior Shane Philips said the waterways have always been important to his people, but it was crucial correct safety equipment, licensing and boat registration rules are followed.

“Waterways have looked after our people for thousands of years when they used nawis - bark canoes - for trading,” Mr Phillips said.

“If you want to be a good skipper, make sure you choose a boat you know you can handle. If you’re going out to sea, you’re not going to take a tinny. If you’re going up river you need to have the right equipment to get your family back home.

“If you want to do this properly, tell your mob before you leave. But also log on and log off with Marine Rescue NSW – if you don’t come back they are going to come looking for you.

“If you’re fishing whether it’s in the Macleay or Macquarie River or Sydney Harbour, make sure you fish safely and bring your family home safely.”

Transport for NSW Aboriginal Assistant Project Officer Tullarah Simpson said the waterways are a place for people to gather, connect and have fun.

“Did you know in NSW, seven out of 10 people who drown while boating were not wearing a lifejacket?,” Ms Simpson said.

“To find out which lifejacket is suitable for you check out lifejacketwearit.com.au.”

Transport for NSW has also wrapped a bus and three trams in Aboriginal artwork for NAIDOC Week, which will operate on the Sydney network throughout July.

Mr Constance said TfNSW has a strong Aboriginal workforce of 2.8 per cent, up from 1.2 percent in 2017, which is acknowledged through NAIDOC Week.

“We are well on the way to the 2025 target of 3.3 per cent representation across all salary levels,” Mr Constance said.

“In the last financial year, 34 Aboriginal trainees and apprentices were employed. We also welcomed 16 Aboriginal cadets and 13 Aboriginal employees into Transport’s Scholar and Graduate programs.”

To view the animation and the Aboriginal Boating Safety Champion video and download a copy of the colouring book, visit Aboriginal maritime safety resources.

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