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Aerial view of Halls Creek
In 2015, the Shire of Halls Creek was the lowest ranking local government area in the Dropping Off the Edge report which ranked WA local governments according to 24 different criteria, including long-term unemployment and school graduation rates.

Noel Mason, Chief Executive Officer of the Shire of Halls Creek, explains that the shire made a strategic decision two years ago to step-in and invest resources in creating new jobs and to upskill those struggling to find employment in the regional Kimberley community.

“Halls Creek chose to commit our own resources, initially to create more jobs that mirror the skills of our population in work that suits their capacities and in which the shire lacks, and to train unemployed persons to fill these and potential future jobs.

“A job fixes many things, and this was exactly our aim,” Mr Mason said.

The shire says it is clear that their efforts have been successful and that they have achieved what they set out to do in their strategic plan. The plan has four action areas, with a focus on local economy, local jobs and a local response to social challenges.

Over the last two years the shire has increased their workforce from 40 to 100 full-time equivalent, with representation of Aboriginal employees as a percentage of the total workforce also increasing significantly to now accurately reflect the diverse composition of the shire’s population.

“Between the roadworks crew, trainees, Olabud Doogethu and shire staff, our workforce makeup now mirrors the community. It was a strategic aim and has been completed in two years,” Mr Mason said.

Through collaboration and partnership with the State Government and Main Roads WA (MRWA), the shire was able to establish its own local road crew and purchase road plant to enable works. The shire also employed trainees through a program which would provide them with the skills and experience to be MRWA qualified.

The shire is proud of its Olabud Doogethu suite of programs which aim to provide local employment while improving the safety of Halls Creek. Programs focus on youth justice, youth engagement, youth case intervention, alternative education re-engagement, human rights, community justice and tribal affairs.

The shire’s unemployment rate (as of March 2021) now sits at 24 per cent, which is a significant decrease from its height of 40 per cent almost two years ago and is a direct result of the shire’s efforts.

“Creating employment where jobs did not exist is not the story here, the current unemployment rate is only a by-product of the shire’s aims.

“Creating jobs that leave the skills in the hands and hope in the hearts of residents, that’s the story,” Mr Mason said.


Page reviewed 06 May 2022