Plea for councillors to support plan to cut crime, add jobs

THINKING OF THE FUTURE: Wiradjuri Wellington Aboriginal Town Common CEO Anita Johnson wants to create more employment opportunities in Wellington through the establishment of a flora and fauna park. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE
THINKING OF THE FUTURE: Wiradjuri Wellington Aboriginal Town Common CEO Anita Johnson wants to create more employment opportunities in Wellington through the establishment of a flora and fauna park. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

A plan for the Wiradjuri Wellington Aboriginal Town Common hopes to increase employment opportunities and decrease crime.

Wiradjuri Wellington Aboriginal Town Common CEO Anita Johnson wants to turn the land into a flora and fauna park. It could also accommodate a cultural centre, museum or keeping place recreational area, she said.

The CEO addressed Dubbo Regional Council at the recent meeting to gather support for the plan.

The 183 hectares of land where the park would be located was returned to the Wellington Aboriginal community under Native Title, Ms Johnson said.

“This land is about five kilometres outside of town so it’s not going to affect a lot of the township or cause any problems or major damage or something like that. What were doing is implementing a master plan for education, employment and training opportunities for our younger generation,” she said.

Ms Johnson said the park would give employment opportunities to students straight out of high school.

“We would be taking the children out of high school into a traineeship, into an apprenticeship. And then walking with them all the way until they were fully qualified in each area, even to the point where if we had one that may look at failing we would organise for them to have proper tutoring so that no one fails this program,” she said.

“It’s a wonderful program. It covers every avenue from employment all the way up to top management.”

Ms Johnson said to her knowledge it was a one-of-a-kind project. She said there had never been a program that covered so many different kinds of employment.

By providing jobs, Ms Johnson said it would also help to decrease the town’s “deplorable” high crime rate. It had only gotten worse in recent year thanks to drugs like ice, she said.

The CEO became emotional as she spoke about ice and a family member who was struggling with addiction.

“Ice is deplorable, it’s a terrible drug. It not only affects these kids it affects us as a whole,” she said.

After completing their own training, Ms Johnson said the educated people would then train the next group, providing an ongoing circle of education and employment.

“I’m not in a position to run that kind of business but I have no doubt there is somebody out there that we can hire to do this,” she said.

Ms Johnson said there needed to be change and it needed to happen now.

She called on all the councillors to give their support to the plan.

“I need you, I need all of you, I need your backing. We can implement this. This is a brilliant plan,” Ms Johnson said.