A collaboration between BHP, the Shire of East Pilbara and Creating Communities has seen the voices of Newman’s young people placed front and centre as BHP launches their Newman Futures Strategy.

Through engaging with community, BHP and the Shire of East Pilbara gathered with a range of stakeholders to discuss ways to innovate and harness new technologies to service public interests.

“BHP is working closely with the Shire of East Pilbara and the Newman community to understand and harness these changes as opportunities,” said BHP’s Principal Collective Impact Chris Cottier.

“Through Newman Futures we want to generate a vision of what the future of work, training and life will look like in Newman.”

The strategy’s four key components included:

  • Culture and Country
  • Liveability and Wellbeing
  • Education and Training
  • Economy and Work.

Under Culture and Country, filmmakers Curtis Taylor and Nathan Mewett came together to speak with Newman’s Indigenous youth to see what they hoped for in the future and how they felt about the current services and opportunities available in Newman.

A Martu man growing up in Bidyadanga and Parnnggurr, Mr Taylor was happy to come to Newman and work with the town’s young people.

“It was great for me to go back and work with the young kids,” Mr Taylor said.

Mr Taylor and Mr Mewett spent two weeks in Newman filming and interviewing Newman’s young people.

“With this [project we were] specifically getting feedback from youth and their voices … there weren’t any adult voices other than people who work with the kids,” Mr Taylor said.

“It was entirely through the kids’ voices and that’s what we really want to do and show … to get an insight of … their experience growing up in a town like Newman, a mining town, remote rural town, the opportunities they have and don’t have.”

Mr Taylor said the Indigenous youth he interviewed spoke very candidly and that it was important to capture that honesty.

“A lot of projects … I work on, there’s a lot of absence of youth voices and they couldn’t express themselves freely,” Mr Taylor said

“In this capacity where they’re leading it and driving it with their voices and their ideas, it’s really important that we do that.”

Recurring themes Mr Taylor found during the filmmaking process included a lack of understanding around the programs youth have and don’t have in the community, particularly programs that keep youth engaged after hours.

Mr Taylor said the film will allow stakeholders involved in the Newman Futures Strategy to see an honest viewpoint from Newman’s young Indigenous people who will become the next generation.

“Those are the really strong voices that we have to listen to now,” Mr Taylor said.

“The most important thing is to see where we can do better in servicing the needs of youth and people in general.”

By Hannah Cross