No Adobe Flash Player installed. Get it now.
Brionee Noonan, Aboriginal Peak Organisations Northern Territory
Derek Hunt, Northern Territory Aboriginal Interpreter Service
Communities around Australia have been telling the Australian Government that one of the key issues for Indigenous people is more jobs for our mob.
In response, the Government has made increasing employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders a critical component of Closing the Gap and Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory.
Stronger Futures will help to create more local jobs for Aboriginal people living in the NT with an expectation that all services employ local Aboriginal people wherever possible.
In this Newslines Radio program we spoke to Barkindji woman, Brionee Noonan, and Yolngu man, Derek Hunt, from Elcho Island about the dream jobs they’ve found in the Northern Territory.
“If you are passionate about something, find out all you can about it,” Brionee said.
PRESENTER: Hi, I’m Nathan Ramsay and you’re listening to Newslines Radio, an Australian Government program on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues.
Today we’re talking to some Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory about the dream jobs they’ve found.
Communities around Australia have been telling the Australian Government that one of the key issues for Indigenous people is more jobs for our mob. In response, the Government has made increasing employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders a critical component of Closing the Gap and Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory.
PRESENTER: Brionee Noonan is a Barkindji woman and law graduate who is working with APONT, the Aboriginal Peak Organisations Northern Territory, on an important research project.
Newslines caught up with Brionee recently to talk about her job.
NOONAN: My main project is working on a research paper that looks at the decline of Aboriginal organisations in the Northern Territory, so lately it’s been brought up in government and also in NGOs with understanding that there’s not many Aboriginal organisations around at the moment, not as many as there used to be.
We’re trying to get the background of why there is a decline and how we can better strengthen capacity and governance and try to build Indigenous corporations back into where they used to be or even better than they were before.
PRESENTER: As a law graduate Brionee always imagined herself practising criminal law but since working at APONT her focus has changed.
NOONAN: I’m really liking the policy, governance side of the legal aspects and this is the area I know I like and I know I can go further. I really enjoy it, which I never thought I’d say because I always saw myself as a criminal lawyer.
PRESENTER: As a successful young Indigenous woman Brionee is seen as a role model to others in her community, but she says she doesn’t let the pressure get to her.
NOONAN: I think it’s kind of a good thing actually to be able to be someone in the community coming up and helping other people if they want to contact me. It’s good to help other people in the community and try to work out what they want for the future or guidance.
PRESENTER: And Brionee has some good advice for others looking to kick-start their careers.
NOONAN: Just talk to people. If you are passionate about something, find out all you can about it. If people put you down, keep going. I got put down quite a bit at home when I was younger.
I think you’ve got to be really determined in yourself. If you’re interested in uni courses, or even TAFE courses, apply for them. If you fail, stuff it, keep going. I failed a few units.
PRESENTER: That was Brionee Noonan, whose work is helping to increase the strength of Northern Territory Indigenous organisations so they can better look after our mob there.
Meanwhile, Yolngu man Derek Hunt from Elcho Island has followed in his mother’s footsteps and built a successful career as an interpreter with the Northern Territory Aboriginal Interpreter Service.
HUNT: I was studying visual arts and contemporary craft at Batchelor and my mum’s an interpreter. About 3 or 4 years ago when they all graduated, there was about twenty of them. I walked into the office with my mum because I was going to the graduation ceremony that night and I actually signed some papers and done a small language assessment with the trainer, Lauren.
About 12 months later, I was living in Batchelor but when I came back from Batchelor I got hooked up. Someone came around and saw me, got me to go to the office, signed a contract and asked me if I was available for a job down at the Magistrate’s Court. I went straight down and did my first job.
PRESENTER: Interpreting can be a very difficult job as quite often words or phrases in one language can’t be accurately translated into another. However, Derek finds that helping break down the communication barriers between people is the most satisfying part of his job.
HUNT: Knowing that everyone, I’m talking about the client and professional, are both satisfied and everyone understands each other. The satisfaction I get from it at the end of the day, when the job’s finished, I can go back home and think about it and I’ll think that if it’s a criminal matter, the person knows that if he gets punished and sent away for 12 months, he knows why.
PRESENTER: That was Derek Hunt, who is using his language skills to help his fellow Yolngu deal more confidently with government.
There is a big range of jobs out there and it’s great to hear more and more Indigenous people are taking up those opportunities.
Brionee’s position with APONT is part of the Australian Government’s Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory package and Stronger Futures is also supporting the Northern Territory Aboriginal Interpreter Service to recruit, train and mentor interpreters like Derek.
For more information on programs the Australian Government supports to help Close the Gap in employment outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, check out the links on our website, Indigenous.gov.au.
You can also follow Closing the Gap on Twitter, and like Indigenous.gov.au on Facebook.
I’m Nathan Ramsay, thanks for listening to Newslines Radio.