Suburban Rail Loop is helping first nations waste disposal workers own their own trucks through their work on SRL East.
First nations business Djurwa is providing waste management services to SRL East worksites during early construction - joining the 8000-strong workforce that will deliver SRL East.
Djurwa Managing Director Nathan Martin said the work provides an opportunity for people who aren’t offered a chance anywhere else.
‘We’ll purchase the vehicle, look after the servicing, tyres, fuel, all of that. In 3 years, the employee will own the truck and have control of their destiny,’ Nathan said.
SRL East is providing fantastic opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to be involved in this city-shaping project, with a 3% workforce target for the first phase of construction.
Ten Aboriginal businesses have already been employed on the project, including Indigenous construction firm Wamarra, who established the Clayton site where construction kicked off in June, and Panku Safety Solutions which supplies site workers with prescription safety glasses.
Nathan Martin said Djurwa’s name refers to cultural burning – a sophisticated fire management technique used by Aboriginal communities for thousands of years.
‘When we burn, we do it in a carefully controlled way,” he said.
‘It’s a connected, circular approach that results in the land coming back to health, to the way it should be. In choosing the name of the company I felt it matched our approach to waste management as an end-to-end process, with an emphasis on recycling.
‘We’re a really young operation and it’s been a journey to get to this point, but all the stars have aligned.’
SRL East from Cheltenham to Box Hill will be taking passengers by 2035 and will provide a massive pipeline of jobs and training opportunities throughout construction.
During this first phase of works on SRL East, around 14% of total hours is being undertaken by Victorian apprentices, trainees or cadets, with opportunities for women, Aboriginal and disadvantaged Victorians – contributing to the next generation of highly skilled workers.
Indigenous Business Month is held every October and this year’s theme of ‘Actions today. Impact tomorrow’ aims to inspire the next generation of first nations business leaders.