Cape York residents and businesses are set to benefit from an indigenous joint-venture intended to bolster local industrial services and stimulate employment.
The 50-50 partnership between REMONDIS Australia and JAI-MEC Rural Contracting has seen the creation of a new company called Red Earth Industrial Services.
From this month, Red Earth Industrial Services’ core activity will be twice-weekly domestic waste collections from nearly 3500 residents in Weipa, Napranum and Mapoon.
This has previously been handled by REMONDIS on behalf of the Weipa Town Authority and Mapoon and Napranum Aboriginal Shire Councils.
JAI-MEC has overseen maintenance of REMONDIS’ local 20-vehicle fleet in recent years.
Under the new arrangement, REMONDIS has transferred these domestic waste collection responsibilities to the Red Earth Industrial Services joint-venture, and also assigned two trucks to the new business to ensure collections continue in a smooth and timely manner.
Red Earth Industrial Services, which is being run by senior representatives from both REMONDIS and JAI-MEC, emphasised that it will be business as usual as far as residential waste collection is concerned.
Collections will continue to be overseen by the Weipa Town Authority.
The longer-term goal is that Red Earth Industrial Services will flourish into a diversified industrial business, offering a variety of additional services across the Cape York Peninsula which may include sand blasting, painting and electrical work.
“The formation of Red Earth Industrial Services is a unique economic and employment opportunity for the Cape York region,” REMONDIS Senior Project Manager Andrew Crichton said.
He added that by initiating the joint venture, REMONDIS has effectively established the region’s first locally owned waste management company.
“We’ve also planted a seed intended to result in the new company gradually expanding to provide a range of local industrial services and jobs,” Crichton said.
“Given how remote we are and given how costly it can be relying on support from distant centres such as Cairns, the importance of establishing local services can’t be understated.”
Torres Strait Islander descendent, diesel mechanic and Weipa local Sandra Kirk – who owns and runs JAIMEC with her husband Jai Christie – said indigenous employment would be foremost in mind under the Red Earth Industrial Services structure.
“We’ve got a big opportunity to create new jobs and we’ll be looking at opportunities for local indigenous people wherever possible,” Kirk said.
“Creating and keeping jobs in local communities is so important, given how remote we are.
“The sky could be the limit in terms of business growth as time progresses.”