The first trainees today graduated from a Mid-West training camp that may serve as a prototype for creating both Aboriginal economic development and new shearing labour.
The Geraldton-based Mhunga Whalla group and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development organised the camp at a Northampton farm.
Participants aged 16 to 29 completed a two-week course facilitated by accredited trainers and are now looking to gain work in the State’s shearing industry.
The McGowan Government is supporting a similar shearing camp in Brookton, and has plans to further expand the model in conjunction with the WA Shearing Industry Association. Mhunga Whalla is considering developing a permanent training facility in the Mid-West.
The Mid-West camp attracted strong financial and logistical support from Australian Wool Innovation and many local businesses and individuals.
Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan congratulated the camp graduates: Jamaine Narrier; Clinton Narrier; Taharna Mitchell; Leeson Flanagan; Brentley Comeagain; Rob Ronan; Kahsan Stack; Edward Ponta; and Robbie Speight.
As stated by Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
“With wool prices on the rebound, demand is growing for shearers.
“Many young Aboriginal people today had grandparents in the industry – and they live in sheep growing regions. It makes sense to offer this employment opportunity for young Aboriginal people across our regions and particularly in the Mid-West.
“This program responds to the projected 10 per cent per annum growth in demand for shearing labour to meet the increases in wool production.
“Congratulations and thank you to Bobby Pepper and the Mhunga Whalla team, the Teakle family from Northampton for hosting the camp, and the dedicated departmental staff for their efforts.
“This is the first step towards realising the Government’s vision of creating permanent Aboriginal-focused shearing training hubs in the Mid-West and other parts of the State.”