No excuses for not employing Indigenous Australians
Asked about Indigenous employment, Yamatji, Noongar and Widjari and Badimia woman, Tara Martin is not shy in saying “there is no excuse for employers not to recruit Indigenous Australians.”
Tara Martin is a shining light for Doorn-Dijil Yoordaning, a subsidiary for Perth-based construction company MacMahon. Being one of six children and growing up with a father as an alcoholic she is not afraid to voice her honest opinions.
What matters to Tara in life, is the plight of Aboriginal people. “If Aboriginal people want to get up in their lives, they need a good education. The world is not going to stop and wait for us and we don’t want our people left behind,” she passionately explains.
Growing up was not easy for Tara. She and her five siblings attended a non-Indigenous catholic school in Carnarvon, western Australia and it was here she and her Indigenous brothers and sisters were introduced for the first time to prejudice. Not letting this affect her schooling life, Tara went on to graduate school in Perth and is now working full time for Doorn-Dijil Yoordaning. In her role as Company Secretary she looks after recruitment and training, financials, monthly reporting as well as managing a joint venture in the mid-west, her country. Tara is also studying business part-time with Edith Cowen University.
Employers across Australia have no excuses for not employing Aboriginal people. Tara stands by this; maintaining there is “no excuse” to not have Indigenous employees. Tara believes, “Indigenous people are good at the three L’s – look, listen and learn. They don’t have to be told twice, and there is always someone out there.”
When questioned about her personal attitude towards closing the unemployment gap between Indigenous and non-indigenous people, Tara expresses the importance of education to empower Aboriginal people. “We can all find that sense of empowerment, it’s all around us; in books, people, places and we need to work together to get this,” she says. An education, Tara believes will allow people this sense of being and empowerment. Importantly Tara adds, “People learn when they have a dream to work towards. A job is a manageable goal which can help you provide for your family.”
Having a job is one thing, but creating sustainable employment and mutual understanding is another. For employers to achieve successful recruitment and retention a “common ground and understanding” between two parties is imperative.
“You can’t paint everyone with the same brush,” she says.
At MacMahon, Tara is developing a soft skills training course as part of her role within Doorn-Dijl Yooraning. The program is challenging and requires support and patience from employers. According to Tara, this as well as other programs, training and her dedication, will lead to a 100% Indigenous workforce.
This is Tara’s goal.