OPPORTUNITY: Michael Eggmolesse, Marion Dodd spoke with Treasurer Curtis Pitt about their plans.
OPPORTUNITY: Michael Eggmolesse, Marion Dodd spoke with Treasurer Curtis Pitt about their plans. Paul Braven GLA020217TREASURER

'Came with nothing': Former Island workers start savvy business

PLENTY of workers on Curtis Island blew their dough on cars, jet skis and boats.

But thinking ahead and using a little bit of cash stashed away from their time on the island, Byellee traditional owners Marion Dodd and Mick Eggmolesse jumped at the chance to start their own business.

The pair won a contract to clean the facilities at APLNG and after 18 months of working, Marion's Cleaning Service received a new two year contract with the UGL engineering company, starting this month.

Mr Eggmolesse said it hadn't been easy to start the business, but after "plugging away" and training staff, they managed to get themselves into a position where they could vie for bigger contracts.

The business is 100% indigenous owned but Mr Eggmolesse said he took on workers from all backgrounds.

"This has made a big difference to our lives but it has been big for our girls ... they came with nothing and to see the change in their lives is special," he said.

"They've now got vehicles and some are talking about owning houses and getting loans from the bank."

Mr Eggmolesse employs 10 people but with the new contract he hoped to hire more people to work for the business as cleaners on the island.

"We're always busy with the amount of people (on the island) but what we do is just get in there and get on with what we've got to do," he said.

"We've been able to employ a lot of people who didn't get a chance to work on Curtis Island (during the boom), which as traditional owners of that land is good."

Treasurer Curtis Pitt met with the business owners to find out about their success and what their future plans were.



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