Fourteen Woorabinda women will be up-skilled to work as haul truck operators in the Curragh North Coal Mine near Blackwater as part of a new initiative supported by the Palaszczuk Government.

The Sisters in Mining project will give the best candidates a traineeship to equip them to work in the resources sector announced Treasurer and Minister for Employment Curtis Pitt.

“During their 18 month traineeship, all participants will complete a Certificate III Surface Extraction, with six of the women to be employed by Wesfarmers and the other eight to be employed by Thiess,” Mr Pitt said.

“This initiative is a partnership between Wesfarmers, Thiess, Woorabinda Aboriginal Shire Council, Salvation Army and my department to employ 14 local women as trainee haul truck operators at the Curragh North Coal Mine near Blackwater.”

Gaangulu Nation Peoples’ trust board member, Lynette Anderson, said these kinds of initiatives were critical to giving indigenous people the skills they need to get a foot in the door.

“It’s just 14 positions but that’s just amazing because these women will be valuable role models by breaking ground for other women to follow in their shoes,” she said.

“I hope more opportunities come about and that the outcomes with these women will be a template for communities right across the country.

“There’s still a very high unemployment rate among Indigenous people, particularly women, so I’m pleased to see mining companies and government making the effort to build capacity in our community so we have the skills to compete for available positions.”

Mr Pitt agreed it would help to address the gender divide in the mining industry.

“The Sisters in Mining project is another example of the Queensland Government’s commitment to ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander job seekers are suitably skilled to meet the needs of Queensland’s growing resources sector,” the Treasurer said.

“The professional experience gained through employment and training will provide these indigenous women with transferable skills to enhance their competiveness in the labour market.

“The Palaszczuk Government is working hard to create sustainable, long lasting careers for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander job seekers because we know that the ripple effect of this will flow on to families and communities to improve life outcomes.”