A better future
By MEL MARTIN
TONY Perkins has never been closer to his dream ? finding Aboriginal people jobs.
And he was glowing with pride as he welcomed a large crowd to the opening of the new Yarrawarra Corporation office in Park Avenue, Coffs Harbour.
Because after all, according to Mr Perkins, opening the corporation's Community Development and Employment Program (CDEP) office is the most significant step for Yarrawarra since its establishment in 1987, and being in the centre of town will be a great advantage.
"It's a day I've been looking forward for a long time because I know we can achieve results, and this is the next step towards it," Mr Perkins said.
"From here, we're aiming to solely concentrate on training, giving work experience and giving skills to Aboriginal people up to a standard that will enable them to gain mainstream employment."
And Yarrawarra has come a long way since its humble beginnings.
"Yarrawarra was built on blood, sweat and pride, and at times rough rides," Mr Perkins said.
"We started with 10 shovels, six mattocks, two axes, four brush hooks and a caravan that State Forests made obsolete."
Mr Perkins said that while the move into the business of employment was new to Yarrawarra, he had no doubt it would succeed.
"Our motto ? we got 'em, you employ 'em," he said.
"At times it's great to give a handout, but also remember give us a hand up. Give us opportunity. We will work together to create a better future for all."