'Stop the Intervention' and 'Jobs with Justice' Rally

'Stop the Intervention' and 'Jobs with Justice'
Rally at the State Library, Melbourne,
5:00pm Friday March 4th, 2011

Melbourne Anti Intervention Collective (MAIC) will be holding a rally to boost signatures for a petition sponsored by the Construction Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) and Unions NT. The petition has been created out of concern at the exploitation of Aboriginal workers taking place under the Community Development Employment Program (CDEP).

Of particular concern is the use of CDEP labour on the federal government's $672 million Strategic Housing and Infrastructure Program (SIHIP). Local Aboriginal workers on the CDEP have been working for substandard CDEP wages, or for the

BasicsCard, alongside fully paid construction workers from outside the community. This is a grave affront to the principle of equal pay for equal work.

The petition will be tabled in parliament on 21st March 2011.

More info available at:


Indigenous housing staff on $450k: Senator

Jane Bardon ABC News Febrary 25th, 2011

The Federal Government has been asked to explain why it is paying some contractors about $450,000 per year to work on its remote Indigenous housing program.

During a Senate committee hearing into the Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program [SIHIP], Country Liberals Senator Nigel Scullion asked why several contractors working in Wadeye for the New Future Alliance are being paid so much.

Senator Scullion said he cannot understand why highly paid contractors are needed when much of the building in Wadeye is being done by a local Indigenous corporation.

"We've got a package manager, and over two years he gets $894,000. That's just for Wadeye," Senator Scullion said.

"We've got another site superintendent, that's another $586,000 [over two years].

"But I come down off site engineers, you can probably justify them.

"We've got a contracts administrator, he's Darwin-based, he's on $471,000 [over two years].

He also asked why there is an allocation in the package for a vocational student to be paid $25,000 for three months' work.

Indigenous Employment Minister Mark Arbib told the committee the salaries have to be at that level because of a skills shortage in the Territory.

"Finding skilled and very skilled workers to go into remote communities is always going to be difficult and it's always going to be expensive," Mr Arbib said.

"And when you put targets in place in terms of construction and delivery it is going to further increase the cost."

The Department of Families told the hearing it has reduced the size of SIHIP houses to help lower the risk of child abuse.

"One of the advantages of smaller stock is the safety of women and children," the department's Andrew Tongue said.

"So larger properties with a number of families living in them are more likely to create a less secure environment for women and children than if we build, say a three-bedroom home that better suits the need of the population."