Newmont used to operate the Jundee mine site,* located approximately 50 kilometres northeast of Wiluna, Western Australia in the remote Yandal goldfield. The Martu people are the traditional owners of the land on which the mine is located.
In 2008, the Wiluna Regional Partnership Agreement (WRPA) was established between the Commonwealth and Western Australian Governments, representatives of the Martu community, a number of mining companies including Newmont, and various community agencies including Central Desert Native Title Services (Central Desert), with the aim of enhancing the Martu community’s opportunities for socioeconomic development. The focus of the agreement is on indigenous employability, real jobs, training and enterprise development in the Wiluna region.
In 2013, the WRPA co-ordinator proposed the idea of an attitudinal survey in the Wiluna region to document the views of youth and adults about their aspirations for employment and what they see as the major barriers. There was agreement from all members of the WRPA that there were low levels of work participation by Aboriginal people and inadequate engagement by many employers with the local Aboriginal community. This has resulted in a low capacity to respond to work and enterprise opportunities. An attitudinal survey towards employment opportunities would provide useful qualitative and quantitative information for not only the WRPA but for the benefit of the Martu community to assist with planning around long-term community objectives and priorities.
To give voice to Wiluna Martu, the Muntjiljtarra Wurrgumu Group (MWG) considered it essential that the survey be conducted for Martu by Martu. Agreement was reached by the WRPA members to undertake the survey. Funding was sought from industry partners and Central Desert for members of the group to be trained in the development and conduction of a survey, as well as analysis and report writing, under the auspices of the Minerals Council of Australia. Thereby, the survey would be designed, implemented, tested and analyzed by the MWG themselves ensuring community participation, ownership and skills as well as all findings remaining at a community rather than industry level. The results of the 2013 attitudinal survey have been utilized by the agreement partners to inform appropriate employment strategies like the Martu ranger program.
* Note that Newmont has divested from the Jundee site, but this case study remains relevant.