Local jobs drive change
Frazer Baker, MRM Truck Driver and Traditional Owner
Borroloola father of four and MRM truck driver Frazer Baker used to encourage young people in the community to get a job at MRM to create their own future. Now he’s joined the mine team himself, and fulfilling his lifelong dream of combining work with life on his traditional homeland.
“It was a dream for me to come to MRM and get a good job.
I wanted a challenge in life. I’d worked for another organisation for seven or eight years and part of my role was trying to encourage Aboriginal people to get jobs. I was trying to establish something locally that would make people aware that there are jobs out there.
Now I’m here myself, working for the mine has been an eye-opener for me. Even though I’m a local person and I knew there were job opportunities here, to actually experience it for yourself, well, so far so good.
The first thing I noticed here was that it was welcoming. You work with a lot of different people —Indigenous people, non-Indigenous people and people from different countries. You hear people talking in another language and you wonder, ‘Who are they?’
Being the person I am, I understand the different worlds of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Here, I’ve got the best of both worlds. Now I’ve got the chance to work with both and learn about other cultures too.
Communication and teamwork are very strong here. If you need someone to do some grading and you ask over the radio no-one ever says: “well get somebody else to go and do it.” It’s a community and everyone works together. I’ve always been told that if you work together and stick as a team, things will happen. That’s what I see here a lot.
The communication between your bosses and your work mates is important. That’s what I like about this job—the communication between everyone. Not only at work but also in the camp. You can sit down and have a yarn with someone at the end of your shift.
When I was going to school I said to myself, “Get a fair bit of education and if a job comes up you can gradually work into it.” I’m driving trucks at the moment but looking forward to operating other machinery.
I’m hoping to stay here for a while. It suits me here. My outstation is only 60km up the road, at Little River outstation. I run a few horses and cattle out there. I’ve got an excision on some Aboriginal land up there. I’ve got houses and all solar power all set up. Getting a steady job like this lets me pay the bills. And I’ve just bought a new car.
That’s a good thing for me. I work hard—12 hours a day—but when that Tuesday morning bell rings I’m able to jump in my car and head through that boom gate for home.”