Petition campaign for SIHIP workers being paid on the BasicsCard

Please support the petition running from December 2010 to March 2011.  The petition is being sponsored by the CFMEU (Construction Forestry and Energy Union) and Unions NT. It has a particular focus on the use of CDEP workers by the $672 million Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program (SIHIP). We are demanding backpay at appropriate award rates for all of these workers, along with an end to arrangements forcing people to work for the BasicsCard and investment in community based employment programs across all Aboriginal communities.

SIHIP has been plagued by controversy due to bureaucratic waste and disempowerment of communities. Close to $200 million was spent before a single house was built. Only 16 communities will receive new housing under SIHIP despite desperate need across all Aboriginal communities. New housing is contingent on the signing of 40-year leases with the government. All communities are now being charged ‘market rent’.

To offset this controversy, the federal Labor government has trumpeted a 30% Indigenous employment participation rate in SIHIP. But under questioning by Greens Senator Rachel Siewert, Indigenous Employment Minister Mark Arbib conceded that CDEP workers have been included in this 30%. He falsely claimed that all work done as part of SIHIP has been paid at or above award rates.

The testimony below of Aboriginal workers from Santa Teresa and Amoonguna tells a different story.

Please print off the petition and circulate amongst friends and workmates. The petition will be presented to the Senate in March 2011, so please return all copies to the CFMEU Darwin, PO Box 3046, Darwin NT 0801 by March 10 2011.

Download the petition here

Read background information here.

Support these workers in their fight to get award wages and conditions:

Sheldon, worker with the Strategic Indigenous Housing+Infrastructure Program (SIHIP) Amoonguna

”For three months we patched all the walls, patched the ceiling, painted all inside. When we first got paid, there was $300 on top of our Centrelink
every fortnight. Then that money started going down and down and went out completely. It was just working for the dole. I was on the BasicsCard too. It was a complete rip off.”

Marilyn, SIHIP worker, Amoonguna

“I was working with a team of ladies from 8am – 3pm each day. We were cleaning, stripping paint, painting floors, moving furniture, removing old kitchens. I thought that we were going to be getting good pay, but they kept me on the BasicsCard.”

Les, Municipal worker with Central Desert Shire, Ti Tree

“I work for the Shire out in the hot sun. I only get about $190 cash and
$190 on my BasicsCard every fortnight. Before the Intervention I used
to get about $1000 for the same work. I’ve got three kids to look after and
the money just doesn’t last. We need proper jobs with proper wages. Everyone
needs to join the union so we can get things happening.”

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One response to “Petition campaign for SIHIP workers being paid on the BasicsCard

  1. As a Noongar man in Bunbury West Australia I feel disgusted and angry for our Brothers and Sisters who are STILL being disrespected, treated as less than second class citizens, ripped off, and subjected to rules and regulations that no other human being in this country have been subjected to. The NTER is bull**** and the Federal Government should have a lawsuit filed as THEY are siphoning off the funds that should otherwise be going into the pockets of those fullas doing the hard yards. I will be getting this info out to all my networks across the country and will try and generate support for you mob. Keep your heads up you fullas! And maybe Ngarda & Leighton’s should be vocal about it too seeing as THEY rake in 200mil.

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