WATCH: Reconciliation plan launch turns to heated debate
THE LAUNCH of an Indigenous strategic employment plan for the Gladstone Ports Corporation turned into a passionate and heated debate.
Yesterday GPC managers met with Indigenous elders, people, employees and high school students to announce their STRETCH Reconciliation Action Plan for 2015 - 18.
But the launch quickly turned to an opportunity for Indigenous people to speak up about their job opportunities and treatment within the Gladstone community.
Fiona Craigie said the perception of Indigenous people needed to change.
She was tired of hearing the "closing the gap" reference, and hoped GPC's plan provided real change.
"How real do you want it, is this just a talk? How real do our managers want to see change ... We're going to call it for what it is because this is what we face is reality."
"We to want the best for our children's children ... we don't want to see racism, separation, division."
Gladstone Ports Corporation ship operator Kev White stood in front of the crowd to speak of the respect he receives in the workplace.
"If you want a job you go out, get all the machine tickets you want, and you get it," he said.
Aboriginal elder Richard Johnson said it was a good start in creating a change.
Mr Johnson said Aboriginal people needed jobs, opportunities and support in the community.
GPC's second RAP plan provides strategies that aim to provide opportunities and build achievements of the local and wider Australian communities.
It is about strengthening their relationships, fostering respect, increasing opportunities and ensuring accountability when it comes to their support of Indigenous Gladstone residents.
"Delivering our RAP is a high prioirity for GPC and we are, and will continue to be committed to closing the employment, education and economic gap between Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Australian South Sea Islander Peoples and the broader Australian community.
"We will do this bby focussing on the key themes outlined in our RAP and wokring hard on forming stronger sustainable relationships, greater mutual respect and creative opportunities."
It is a continuation of their 2012 RAP plan.
Their current Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Australian South Sea Islander employment rate sits at 3%.