Mark Coulton MP, Federal Member for Parkes

Coulton's catch-up for week ending 7 July

Monday, 10 July 2017

Continued Federal Government support for Merriman Shearing School

There are many very worthwhile employment and mentoring programmes which operate in the electorate of Parkes that achieve great outcomes for Indigenous students and young people.
Recently, I was fortunate to accompany the Minister for Indigenous Affairs Senator Nigel Scullion to witness the positive results of one such programme on a sheep property on the outskirts of Brewarrina in the north of my electorate.
The Merriman Shearing School is based on Merriman Station, a 16,000 hectare sheep property, operated by the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC) and trains young people for paid jobs in the wool industry.
The school hosts a three-week pre-vocational/trial course followed by a 13-week practical training programme covering shearing skills, workplace safety, wool handling, animal husbandry, fencing and life skills.
The programmes are underpinned by strong industry partners, including Bateman Shearing, group training organisation MEGT and the University of Qld. In addition, an agreement with a local grazier ensures a supply of up to 8,000 sheep and an income source to assist in meeting training costs for the
school each year.
For the duration of the 16 week course the trainees are expected to work industry hours and paid wages under the national training award. By the end of their time at the MSS, trainees are expected to be able to shear the industry minimum of 80 sheep per day. In addition, the trainees gain other rural industry skills and complete a nationally accredited Certificate 11 in Rural Operations (Shearing
and Wool handling).
The success of Merriman Shearing School is very evident and since 2010, the ILC has successfully delivered two 16 week courses each year, with 154 graduates to date. The completion rate is 75%, with over 50% of graduates placed into ongoing employment immediately upon completion.
Much of the school’s success and reputation can be attributed to Ian and Tup Bateman, owners of Bateman Shearing Pty Ltd, who deliver the training at Merriman. Ian has been shearing for 52 years and is one of five people in Australia to have shorn over 400 sheep in a day using the old fashioned narrow combs. Tup has worked in shearing sheds throughout her working life and was the first Indigenous woman certified as a wool classer in Australia.
My recent visit to Merriman Station with Senator Scullion coincided with an Open Day and Graduation ceremony for a group of successful trainees. It was also an opportunity for Senator Scullion to confirm ongoing Federal Government funding for another intake of 15 participants in the shearing programme. I look forward to hearing about the continued success of the Merriman Shearing School and congratulate all those involved in a venture which is making a real difference to the lives of many Indigenous people from all parts of New South Wales.

Seasonal Work Incentives offer fresh approach

The Coalition Government’s Seasonal Work Incentives Trial offers a range of incentives for unemployed people to undertake seasonal horticultural work to help them gain experience and improve their skills.
The trial, which commenced last week, will support those looking for work and businesses keen to give workers a start.
Growers in the horticultural industry are often in need of short-term labour during peak times and horticultural work offers excellent practical opportunities for people keen to build their skills and gain work experience.
The Seasonal Work Incentives Trial offers financial incentives to support unemployed people to take up work opportunities for up to six weeks. The $27.5 million trial commenced last week and will run for two
years and is capped at 7,600 participants.
The trial’s incentives are available to eligible Newstart and Youth Allowance recipients who have been receiving those payments continuously for at least three months and are participating in jobactive,
Transition to Work or Disability Employment Services.
The incentives include:
* Participants being able to earn up to $5,000 each year from qualifying seasonal horticultural work without it being assessed under the social security income test.
*Eligibility for a Seasonal Work Living Away andTravel Allowance of up to $300 each year, if they undertake qualifying seasonal horticultural work more than 120 kilometres from their home.
*Employment service providers will receive a Provider Seasonal Work Incentive Payment of $100 per week for up to six weeks a year for each eligible person who they place with eligible farmers.
CoultoFor further information about the trial, please visit

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