Ross Earl, General Manager of the Bourke Shire Council, writes on Far West issues.
Representatives of the Bourke Community met senior NSW government figures last week to detail the proposed Bourke Aboriginal Employment Prosperity Strategy aimed at improving employment opportunities within Bourke.
After the meeting Deputy Premier and Regional NSW Minister John Barilaro indicated he would visit Bourke as early as July.
This is great news and will provide the opportunity for Bourke to further advance the strategy and highlight some of the challenges the community faces.
It will also allow the community to showcase our town and the opportunities that exist to further develop the area.
Finance Minister Victor Dominello and Early Childhood Education and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Sarah Mitchell were also at the meeting and joined Mr Barilaro in giving an undertaking to visit Bourke.
The contingent from Bourke included: council representatives; Alistair Ferguson, chair of the Aboriginal Working Party and Chief Executive of Maranguka; Detective Inspector Rod Grant from the Darling River Area Command; and James Price representing the owners of the new abattoir, CAPRA Pty Ltd.
The Deputy Ombudsman Danny Lester did much of the coordination and our thanks go to him.
One part of the Strategy is trying to make access to government contracts for such things as building maintenance more accessible for local tradespeople.
Currently many contracts are let on a region-wide basis making it difficult for the smaller operators to submit tenders.
The “unbundling” of contacts would allow smaller operators to submit prices and, if successful, increase continuity of work.
This would allow them to look to employ additional apprentices providing not only careers for many young people in the community but also ensuring an ongoing supply of tradespeople to service the area.
Nursing meeting. The council will meet representatives of Western District Health Services on June 22 on the provision of midwifery and maternity services to Bourke women since the closure of the Birthing Unit in 2015.