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Media release                               - 5 May 2011                                             -  for immediate release


NT Aboriginal community leaders and the CFMEU
back Sydney rally

Community leaders from Amoonguna in Central Australia and the Darwin office of the CFMEU are supporting a petition against exploitative working conditions under the NT Intervention being launched at a rally today in Sydney.

The petition is demanding back pay for Aboriginal people paid on the BasicsCard while doing renovations for the NT Intervention's $672 million Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program (SIHIP), and investment in Aboriginal employment across all communities.

Marie Ellis, President of the Amoonguna Community Council said: "When SIHIP came to town we were told there would be fulltime jobs with good wages, but instead we were ripped off and left unemployed. It is another slap in the face from the government."

"Before the Intervention and cuts to CDEP the majority of our people were working. We had work through the Arts Centre, the school and community council works. We had a strong functioning council and had control of our lives."

"Australians always talk about giving people a fair go, but that doesn't apply to us. Our grandmothers and grandfathers worked that way, doing what they were told for nothing."

"We want an end to this Intervention and control back in the community. The unions have come behind us to demand the government listen to our story. They are supporting our mob who were ripped off."

Mick Huddy, CFMEU organiser in Darwin said: "Aboriginal workers in the Northern Territory who were engaged on building upgrades under the federally funded SIHIP program were paid less than half of the Award which is completely unacceptable. No worker should be exploited in this way and the CFMEU stands by these workers and calls for them to be back paid every cent plus interest."

Marilyn Dixon from Amoonguna was part of a team of residents working on a CDEP project renovating an old community clinic and houses in Amoonguna under SIHIP. Ms Dixon said, "I was working with a team of ladies from 8am - 3pm each day. We were cleaning, stripping paint, painting floods, moving furnitire, removing old kitchens. I thought we would be getting good pay, but they kept me on the BasicsCard."

The rally will begin at 12pm, Thursday May 5, 70 Phillip st, Sydney CBD

Barb Shaw (Intervention Rollback Action Group Alice Springs)
Senator Rachel Siewert (Australian Greens)
Mal Tulloch (NSW State Secretary, CFMEU)
Dootch Kennedy (Illawarra Land Council)

For comment contact:

In Sydney:
Paddy Gibson 0415800586;
Barbara Shaw 0401291166

In the NT:
Marie Ellis 0447 089 909;
Mick Huddy (CFMEU) 0417 141 842


For more information, including more details about the Sydney rally see