The First Nations Workers Alliance’s says its aim is to empower Indigenous workers. (Facebooks: First Nations Workers Alliance)
On the August 23, 1966, Vincent Lingiari led 200 people — employees of the Wave Hill station and their families — in a walk off.
It was moment that eventually led to significant changes in wages and conditions for Aboriginal employees.
Now 51 years later, the newly formed First Nations Worker’s Alliance (FNWA) is hoping to bring the issue of Aboriginal wages and conditions back into the national spotlight.
In 1966, Aboriginal stockmen and their families worked as virtual slaves for British beef baron Lord Vestey on Wave Hill cattle station, 600 kilometres south-west of Darwin. They were paid in flour, sugar, tea, tobacco and occasionally beef scraps.
Earlier this year the country’s peak union body established the First Nations Workers Alliance, with the aim of bringing an end to the Federal Government’s Community Development Program (CDP).
The alliance was established on June 9, 2017, paving the way for legal and legislative challenges to the policy.
Lara Watson, an Indigenous officer at the ACTU and the spokesperson for the FNWA, says that of the 35,000 CDP participants, around 33,000 are Indigenous people.
“It’s 51 years later and we are still talking about the exploitation of ATSI workers,” Ms Watson says.
“If you look at what happened at Wave Hill walk off, where…
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