Nowra Bridge project powers Aboriginal engagement

3 December 2020

Member for Kiama Gareth Ward MP and Member for South Coast Shelley Hancock MP have today announced that the Nowra Bridge Project will have a long-term positive impact on the entire region, with particular meaning and benefits for the local Aboriginal community.

Member for Kiama Gareth Ward said that a key cultural element of the project was the recently completed Aboriginal mural, painted by participants in a program for youth at risk of juvenile detention.

"The artwork represents the Cullungutti Mountains, the coming together of the Wandi Wandian and Wodi Wodi mobs, the black cockatoo and the significance of the Nowra Bridge bringing the Shoalhaven community together," he said.

"This also reflects our commitment to the community, with more than 13 per cent of the Nowra Bridge project workforce coming from an Aboriginal background," Mr Ward said.

Member for South Coast Shelley Hancock said that a more concrete impact is coming via the Infrastructure Skills Legacy Program (ISLP), which is a New South Wales Government initiative to provide training and employment opportunities within the construction industry.

"The Nowra Bridge project has made significant progress on NSW Government and project targets, with 69 per cent of the workforce being local and 13 per cent coming from the local Aboriginal participation," she said.

"Eleven local Aboriginal participants took part in the first ISLP pre-employment intake: Five have now started a 12 month Civil Construction Traineeship while the other six have been referred to local subcontractors working on the project," Mrs Hancock said.

One of those trainees, Kaine Green from Nowra, said the chance to work on such a large infrastructure project in his hometown was what drew him to apply.

"It was a big project in my home town and a chance of a lifetime for me to be involved and make a positive improvement on where I live," he said.

"The whole thing is a highlight, it is a great chance to learn, get more skills and qualifications."

The ISLP has also delivered 4.5 per cent female participation in non-traditional roles and 8.4 per cent youth (under 25) employment.

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