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Joe Clarke Business Strategy Manager for Centrefarm

Joe Clarke is the Business Strategy Manager for Centrefarm, which is a company limited by guarantee and established to provide benefit to Aboriginal Landowners in the NT. Joe is a local Arrernte man from Central Australia with an extensive background in the community sector having run regional offices for the Central Land Council, Manungurra Aboriginal Corporation, and worked in men's health initiatives with Central Australian Aboriginal Congress. Joe yarns up with Gman on Big Brekkie on 3KND.

Joe has a solid history of being a director on various Boards including Imparja Television and Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA) and currently a director of Centrecorp Foundation. Joe is perhaps best known across the region in his role as the long standing CAAMA radio sports anchor, and for his live football commentating.

The Alekarenge Work Experience Pilot Project (WEPP) commenced this year and established operations with Alekarenge residents and staff prior to Covid-19 travel restrictions taking place. Hygiene practices, distancing and all recommended precautions are being enforced.

Del and Neil Norris have been employed as project supervisors and mentors by Alekarenge Horticulture Pty Ltd (AHPL) and are progressing the training and employment program. They are well suited to the role, with a broad range of professional experience in farming, crop/stock management, community services, construction and project management. Four community members have been employed by AHPL and have begun fencing, irrigation and horticultural plot development on the lease area. Arrangements are being finalised with job service provider RISE/Ngurratjuta for Job Seekers to be fully involved in WEPP activities when appropriate.

The WEPP includes: a 130ha lease area (with water licence) and is designed to provide on-the-job training in: - Fencing - Horticultural plot development - Irrigation - Weeding - Plant health - Propagation and establishment - Marketing - Transportation

The project intends to have three cohorts of trainees: Cohort 1 - primary school students, Cohort 2 - senior school students both linked to the project by a school horticulture garden program; and Cohort 3 - job seekers via RISE/Ngurratjuta. The unique facility is aimed at training and employment pathways while also to Clearing the Training Centre grounds 2 producing marketable fresh food for sale locally and through markets in Alice Springs, as well as seedlings for nearby horticultural developments.

The WEPP is part of a long-term holistic plan to develop viable and sustainable primary industry on the Warrabri Aboriginal Land Trust (ALT) to support the emergence of a commercial and economic base, providing employment for local people on their own land and terms, and enabling the flow-on of commercial and social benefits to the whole community. As the pilot for future Aboriginal Land Economic Development Agency (ALEDA) projects, the WEPP will assist in building capability and capacity so that Traditional Owner’s and local Aboriginal residents can, in the first instance, be engaged as workers (at all levels) in ALEDA projects and, ultimately, take over operations of the projects within a generation.

The WEPP project envisages that a percentage of people will emerge who can attain higher education qualifications, and over-time become Managers and Agronomists First.

The WEPP intends to build community resilience by supporting food security, food sovereignty and self-sufficiency. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for improved self-sufficiency with fresh, affordable and healthy food. This week a coalition of leading Aboriginal organisations has called on the national cabinet to guarantee food security during the pandemic as some stores are running out of fresh food between their weekly deliveries.

The training and commercial facility is perfectly placed to alleviate these sorts of pressures, while providing a link between the community and nearby horticultural developments. The tailor-made approach to job services is designed so that over time, the employment outcomes and objective of assisting remote Aboriginal people to engage in commercial projects on their land trust estates can function in reality.


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