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The importance of work safety (Jade North)

Jade North, the first Indigenous Socceroos’ captain and two time Olympian and two-time A-League Champion, shares his experience and message about work health and safety.

Thanks for joining today and welcome as we open Safe Work Month 2023.

My name is Jade North, but firstly, I'd just like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet today. I'd like to acknowledge the traditional owners, the Yuggera and the Turrbal people, all elders past, present, and emerging.

Again, my name is Jade North and I'm a proud Biripi  man from Taree, New South Wales.

I was an ex-professional footballer soccer, as we call in this country of 21 years.

I was fortunate enough to be capped 41 times with the Socceroos, two time Olympian, 2004 in Athens, 2008 in Beijing.

And over my time at the Olympics, I was fortunate enough to play against some top opposition and one in that in Argentina, Lionel Messi, which has been a great experience for me.

I was fortunate enough, back in 2016 to pick up the NAIDOC Sports person of the year, which for me, being a sports person is, is a great accolade.

You know, myself being a defender, you know, defenders don't get too much accolades, but that what I did in the community and myself as a 21 year professional, got to pick up the NAIDOC Sports person of the year in Darwin, Northern Territory

Life past football. I, I,I'm the founding director of a charity called Kickin' with a Cuz.

It's a community-based program where using football as the vehicle to help connect with young, Indigenous and underprivileged kids to help make better pathways while using football as the vehicle.

I've been retired now for about five years and my stints within playing football was in, in, in Australia with the Brisbane Roar.

Spent six years there. I captained the Newcastle Jets, a winning side back in 2008, being one of the first Indigenous, Um, captains of the Socceroos.

And also taking out one of the championships as well.

I had a stint in two years in Japan, FC Tokyo in the J one and Consadole Sapporo in the J one as well. Spent two years in Japan, spent a little bit of time in South Korea one year there with Incheon United and I had a stint in Norway as well.

So this part of my journey coming from Taree, um, firstly in housing commission, and a little, little spot just over the bridge is, um, where I grew up and is where I'm from and where I'm proud from.

So I'm a proud Biripi man from that area.

My father being Aboriginal Australian and my mother, um, she's Australian. So my, my growing up, it was a, it was a difficult time for me, um, growing up.

Mother was 19 when she had me, my father and my younger brother was all I had.

But unfortunately during this time my father was, was heavily into the drink, um, an alcoholic and mom didn't want us to me to, to sort of, to grow up in, in this environment. So we, we moved away at, at the young age of eight years old up to Queensland where we wanted to get away from the, the vicious cycle that, you know, unfortunately, Indigenous communities have, you know, with drugs, alcohol, um, domestic violence, all that sort of stuff.

And mom had to work three jobs just to put food on the table and for me and my younger brother to have a better life.

And though moving up to Queensland, you know, I got to connect with young kids in grade four, grade five. And back then, as part of that was, you know, surfing, bodyboarding and my beloved football, the round ball game. And a lot of people still ask me today, even cousins when I go back to my community. Jade, why did you, why did you choose the round ball game?

Cause historically in Taree New South Wales, my nan's a Mitchell, my grandfather is a Morris. So on the Mitchell side, we've got a very strong connection with the NRL and my cousin Latrell Mitchell, um, my younger cousin, another proud Biripi man from the area.

So it was either boxing, music or rugby league growing up.

But I chose a different path, and that was football. Football was my, was my mentor, was my inspiration, was my way to get away from the anxiety and the things that, you know, that have made me today. I retired five years ago.

I didn't have things put in place. Football didn't have things put in place for me at the time.

And having a single mother working three jobs just to put food on the table, it was very difficult. And football for me was my only way out.

Fast forward, I started recognising my talent and the things that I could bring to the table.

And, you know, I just followed my dream, when 21 years is a long time professionally, it's similar to the military, the army.

And I have conversations with people that, you know, have the struggles after they finish. And mine was very, very similar.

I retired here at Brisbane, um, royal game against Adelaide, United. Went up for a headache, come down, bang, I nearly ruptured my, uh, tore my calf off the bone.

I didn't have things put in place unfortunately. And, you know, had I had a father, I had a family that I could rely on to help me, to guide me, to put me into things, you know, whether it was dad was a builder or, um, my father was in this or that, it was, um, I only had what I wanted to be.

And that was a dream of being a footballer.

But the reality sank in and all of a sudden, your dreams, your sponsorships, your everything is taken away from you from a, from the, the instant of an injury.

And I ended up in the commercial cleaning industry and a good friend of mine,

Michael O'Loughlin, ex Sydney Swans player, he gave me the opportunity to work within the cleaning industry.

And at this time, you know, I used to see people after I'd finished post post football and, and people would say, Jade, what are you doing now? What's, what's life like after football?

You know, coming from Socceroos playing with the golden generation, I would be playing with Harry Kewell, Mark Viduka, rooming with Tim Cahill, these sorts of players, the golden generation, the guys that I looked up to, the guys that inspired me to be better at what I wanted to be then end up in the commercial cleaning industry. And they're like, Jade, one minute you're playing for Socceroos. Next minute you, you're cleaning toilets. But that wasn't the way, it was an opportunity where I could use the, the networking that I had playing football with the Socceroos throughout the A-league and my times overseas. And we'd meet with all sponsors and networking.

So this was at the time they couldn't help me out at the time.

But certainly post-football, it was people that I could reach out to and, and understand the processes of everyday life as a business person or working in business back five years ago. And I still laugh about it today.

I couldn't even use a spreadsheet. I didn't understand sales, I didn't understand CRM systems, and these are the things that I had to learn along the way to help me find a way. Um, and similar being a, a footballer, an athlete, you've always got that drive.

You've always got your back against the wall, but you always find a way to, to, to be successful.

I was two years in the commercial cleaning industry with very successful, you know, business development, client relationship management where he was doing a lot of networking and a lot of, um, winning contracts, schmoozing, taking people out, doing all that sort of stuff, which I'm pretty good at.

And two years later I become a first generation Indigenous business owner of an, of a steel fabrication company here in Brisbane. And that, for me was a, was a great step of being someone in the community showing, yes, if I can do it, you know, my mob can certainly do it as well.

I spent two years there and in my time there, I knew that there was a massive hole for football Australia to create pathways for our First Nations people.

I become the chair of the National Indigenous Advisory Committee for Football Australia, where we work with young, um, male and female that need pathways that need opportunities similar to me that had no money in the bank.

And mom had to work three jobs to put food on the table, not be able to take lunch to work, uh, to, to school at the times.

So these things, you know, even things like, um, second-hand boots, all the hand me downs. I remember gonna Garden City here in Brisbane where the, the, the front, the caps off your, off your boots were that worn down that I had to get it capped and, and put across the front. And the, the nails used to come through as I was playing and the, the toes used to the bleed because it just what I had to do.

But I was so passionate and had the drive and I really wanted to be someone.

Now my time at Hutchinson Builders, that's where I'm established, that's where I'm in.

I've been there since February this year as a social responsibility Indigenous participation manager. My role at Hutchinson Builders, it's, um, providing employment for Indigenous people, our First Nations people connecting Indigenous businesses where, you know, I was a part owner of a steel fabrication company and to comply with the government policy and Hutchies policy as well with Hutchies annual Indigenous spend on Indigenous businesses to help report.

I work with schools, year 11 and 12 to go to various schools with our TRI trade school to help facilitate young people and get 'em interested in construction or the blue collar industry if we can't find em.

Employment in construction. We have so many contacts, um, all over the other different industries and we want to help mob and connect them as well. Not just mob, but everyone, people from a diverse background, women in construction. So we have a team of four that we work with.

We have a team leader who's been there for 10 years with Mark Hux and someone who I look up to and who is valuable and teaches me every day on this role.

Mentoring is another big one as well. As, you know, Hutch Hutchinson Builders is a beast of a company, especially here in the southeast of Queensland, you know, 110 years old, biggest family, um, construction company in, in Australia, privately owned.

And when we go to do certain projects in around, uh, Brisbane, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, we have to engage with the traditional owners on the land on which we, we will build and consult with them.

And then doing smoking ceremonies, getting the buy-in because at the end of the day, it is their land, which they, they have travelled on and been a part of for thousands of years.

I do a lot of community engagement as well through football programs to help entice kids to get the interest through sport.

Cause I'm a big believer in sport and con construction or blue collar industry is finding a way to get the interest through sport, educating health, healthy lifestyle, employment and the drive and football, like, just as music is a, is a great connector through our young people.

And I strongly believe that the things that I do helps connect and brings everyone together.

And I work with a lot of Indigenous schools around through Brisbane, Queensland, but also, you know, the diversity around with certain Muslim schools I'm working with as well. And, and football seems to be the biggest connector and helping, wanting to get, their cert one in construction and then, you know, seeing 'em on their way and make sure and that they're doing what they need is and, and what required. And then the mentoring part of me is, is a special part because a lot of the, you know, our brothers and sisters that are, are joining, um, construction for the first time, they need a little bit of, um, mentoring.

They need a little bit of help as like I did.

I didn't have anyone I could lean on or I could reach out to.

So me being in that role as well as my other three colleagues as well, this is what we do. We're only a phone call away and times can be tough, but also we're always there to reach out. My my my next part is the, the tender reporting as well. So everything that we need to do, um, to comply with the work, health and safety and the compliance of being on construction sites and Indigenous, um, subcontractors and making sure that we comply and get the numbers and the data so we can report back to, to government.

My story's not uncommon, my experience in sport, it's very similar.

I, I, since I've joined business, I, I've, I've noticed the similarities between the being in a workplace, being an ex-athlete and then into the business.

I feel that there's a lot of similarities in that if what you put in is what you get out and, you know, being an athlete, we, we used to go through a lot of stress and a lot of, a lot of pain at times, trying to be the best that we could. We could be through the training week, getting over injuries, making sure you're ready for that game.

But I see the very similarities between business and being a footballer.

And, you know, you can have the, the, the world feels like it's on, on your shoulders and at times the stress can really get to you.

And I know I've seen it firsthand, I've experienced it, you know, when when you're stressed at work and you take these problems home to your family, the consequences can be, you know, a lot more.

And it's all about sort of reaching out and having, um, processes and having protocols within your organisation that, you know, you can have a safe environment to work in because these things really come under a, um, work, health and safety, um, opportunity.

Because if you don't reach someone, it might be too late.

And especially in my industry, the construction industry, a male dominated industry, there is a lot of, you know, unfortunately there is a lot of suicide, there are a lot of dominated by men and, and guys that don't like to speak up and reach out.

Bullying has been something that I've seen growing up as well.

Being in football generally with the, with the, with the older players at time.

I know times have changed and there's certain protocols that have been put in place, but that's a, that's a big one for the workplace as well. Fatigue.

If you're fatigue, you become stressed, you're stressed, you can't do your job properly. And the same as in football, in my experience, because, you know, if if you're fatigued, you're stressed, you're never gonna perform.

So you just gotta find the right ways and speak to the right people and make sure that you can be the best you can in Hutchies and around the construction industry there, you know, you know, I've been involved in commercial cleaning, I've been of steel fabrication and heavily dominated by, you know, by male. And it, it can be, uh, a thing at times where, you know, harassment can be on, on the workplace, on the work site, especially with females now with the government, especially pushing with women in construction, you know, there, there could be various comments that could be said on a worksite.

There could be various things that could happen on a worksite to towards female or a male. And again, it's just putting the right, um, um, processes put in place and making sure that everyone is safe.

Racism, being an Indigenous, proud Indigenous man of Australia, being a footballer, I've, um, had my bouts of, of racism throughout school, throughout my A-league career. And my, which, which is most prominent was my, the old NSL, the National Soccer League, where we used to travel to, to, to various ethnic clubs. Um, and the racism and the abuse that used to get hurled at me on the sideline for, for no reason other than trying to play the game that I love.

This applies in everyday work life as well.

We just gotta be aware of it, call it out, and make sure these things don't happen.

Mental health, I want to touch on the mental health side of things. I mean, if you see this photo here, this is when I just, after my stint from Japan, Korea and Norway, I just come back.

You can see a young, um, enthusiastic person there with a smile on, on your face. But let me tell you, the world was, the world was caving in.

This might be a, uh, a brave front that I've got on here, but I can assure you that my time before I went overseas wanting to get the big contracts, like all the Socceroos were wanting to play in the top leagues, wanting to do this with my football career.

And at the time things weren't happening. And for me, I've publicly come out and, and spoken about it. I was on antidepressants.

I felt the, you know, the old saying, if you worry yourself sick, well that's exactly how I did it, was from a mental and then become a physical.

And I, at the time, used to walk around with a brave face.

I couldn't focus on things during training or in the games.

The ball looked like a little, like a little ping pong ball. And I'm thinking,

if the ball comes to me, what am I gonna do with it?

So I was worrying about everything else other than worrying about playing football. And these used to be the pressures that I put on myself that I wanted to be better. And I was having this inside fight with myself.

And I used to sit in, in the shower for half an hour every day to an hour, sometimes when I was overseas, when my family wasn't there, minus 10 degrees, um, in the preseason, while all my friends are back home, I was the only one that could speak English in a, in a in a squad of, you know, 20, 25. I couldn't talk to anyone. There wasn't, you know, I think Skype was the only sort of means of contact back in, back in the day there. Whereas now technology's come such a, a long way and you couldn't reach out and find.

So I would just to sit there on my own just to get the day started.

I did every test under the world to feel I was just, I, I was like, something's wrong with me, something's wrong with me.

And I didn't really know what it was until I got help. And again, this comes under exactly what I've been talking about in this last two minutes.

It's that you've gotta find ways to identify what's going on, what's how you're feeling, reaching out. And these are the things, these are the first step. And I, I went through depression, probably really bad for probably about two years on medication that used to make, that used to numb me, make me feel, um, I was like a zombie until I went to the right processes.

You know, I was winning the NAIDOC, I was, I was winning championships around Australia, playing for the Socceroos. I won a championship with Newcastle as the captain.

And then all I wanted to do was run home and sit in my room and close the door and my message and everything that these certain things happen in workplace today, in every industry.

And it's all about reaching out.

And this is a big health and safety issue that me as a person, that I wanna be a role model, not only in my Indigenous community, but the greater community.

And if I can reach out and help by giving out strong messages, then I think we can, we can go a long way in making people's mental health safe.

Teaching the mob the importance of awareness for First Nations community. I, I'm a big believer in what, what I'm doing now with my football, um, opportunities with Football Australia, but also with Hutchinson Builders.

I, I think there's a big message that needs to go out to community.

Not only are we 3 per cent of the population, but you know, a third of that has been incarcerated at some stage in their life.

And the unemployment rate is huge. You don't know what you don't know.

I was one of those ones that had to learn, learn on the run. I had no, football didn't give me education around being work ready.

Football only taught me football. I had to learn on the run.

And sometimes I had to fake it till I make it, made it just to, just to keep up with everyone. But like, again, as being an ex-professional footballer, you learn on the run when your back's up against the wall.

You know how you know when you're up for the fight. And you know what, when you can win the fight, again, I was one of the lucky ones.

If I go back to my community and my, my personal life, and I, and I'm not afraid to say this, you know, it's, I, I've, I've seen, um, family members overdose on heroin, um, get caught up in drugs. I've got brothers and sisters in and out of jail today.

And if it had not been for football in a small community in Taree, and it becomes the boredom, the, you know, the, the same thing, monotonous thing doing every day. I was one that got football to take me away.

And now with Indigenous coming onto work sites, we need to get that, that message across. We need to get that safe awareness across because, you know, we wanna be able to go and feel safe on a worksite.

And being from an Indigenous background, we are, I know what, we're pretty shy people and we're we always afraid to ask, but my, I guess me being who I am is trying to spread the message and trying to get it out to as many people as I can.

I, as I said before, I really wanna be a role model within the blue collar industry and show if I can do it, anyone can do it. And it's all about, at the end of the day, getting more mob employment, more mob opportunities, but for the, for the wider, um, community, everybody falls under this umbrella.

And at the end of the day,we want to get mob home safe.

I thought I'd put these, these, these two slides up. cause this is, um, something that really hits home for, for me. And, um, when someone doesn't come home, it's a, it's a tragedy.

It can affect the community and it can, can affect the people that are directly involved.

Me being a, a young father of three, my oldest 16, 14, and nine, they've all played football, starting off rugby league, football, basketball. I love every sport.

But this one, for me, really these two, two articles really hit home for me.

You know, being involved in Brisbane, growing up here, being involved in football, you know, a father goes to Mitchelton Football Club and a very well-known father throughout the community goes home and some scaffolding unfortunately falls on him whilst he was watching his son play football.

Out of all the places you wanna be with on your weekend and the things that you love is watching your kids.

And tragically this man passed away and that really hit me, hit home for me because not only am I a father, but you know, I, I take every moment opportunity to give everything for my kids.

And for a tragedy, for something like that to happen at a community level, football match, things have to be put in place and we have to spread the word about the work, you know, work, health and safety around this sort of stuff because this should never happen.

Not only does it affect the,the football club and the people that are involved in the club that they have to now deal with, but it also affects the, the football community.

And my sons were asking me the question, dad, what happened? What happened? And you, you know, you, you're forever sort of having to find questions on what you think is a safe place where you watch your kids and where you want them to be and what, and it and, and football community, it's, it's family time.

And unfortunately this young man passed away.

The other slide here, this one's directly with me as well. I was, you know, a couple of years ago, I, I was looking to go into the renewable energy space at the time and a friend of mine owns the company down in Melbourne.

And I was interviewing the, I was getting interviewed for this particular role.

And again, one of the guys starts and, and during it starts breaking down and, and crying during this, um, this, this process. And, and there was another man there and he was sort of consoling him and,and making sure he was okay. And I'm thinking, what's going on here?

It wasn't until a little bit after that he was telling me that his son had passed away on a construction site and he was only 23 years old. Again, me being a young father, we do not ever want, safety is imperative to whatever industry that we're involved in.

And at the end day we always want people to come home, to go to work safe and come home safe. And for me, again, this comes back around into the football community. It's, it can be tragic not only for that family, but for the construction industry and all different types of, um, industries that you can be involved in.

My time now being, you know, different, different, different roles, blue collar industry and different workplaces.

Now they've all had the, the different sort of compliance around work, health and safety and the measures that you put in place. I know from, from my point of view, we have processes put in place when we enter a site through our hammer tech reporting system where there's management, um, processes on there.

There's inductions and recording and signing in to make sure you, you know, what company you are, who you with, what time you got there, how long you were there for.

And then when you s signing out and the, at the end of the, at the, when you're, you're leaving, it always asks you, were there any injuries sustained.

So I guess being in this industry, it really captures and making sure and using technology for a better health and work safe place.

But also my time in the cleaning industry, you know, it's what the chemicals were using the SWMS, you know, the, the documents that we had to, to put down and make sure that everyone was compliant.

That everyone, even not the company directly, but the company using subcontractors that everyone was gonna be safe.

Steel fabrication again, you know, there's always a hazard around being, you know, we have a lot of forklifts that are driving around, you know, your high vis your, your PPE gear, making sure that everyone's safe because at the end of the day when I was a, a part owner of a steel fabrication company, you know, that reflects back on me.

And if there was anything to happen, then obviously it goes back on the person that are involved in the company.

So again, my time being part of this and what I'm proud of and what I'm doing and what I'm passionate about is making sure that everyone goes home safe or goes to work safe and comes home safe.

So that's the end of my presentation. I'd just like to, um, if there's any questions or anything like that, I would, um, really like to answer any questions you've got coming up.

Uh, What do you think is the most important component of an effective workplace wellbeing program? Well, I know where, where I am, we've got a, it's part of what, what I am, it's the Stardom Yaga, um, it's about, we, we have a good reporting system.

We've got an internal system within Hutchies where at any time it's called the Hive. And we, we can look through from your men, your wellbeing.

Um, this comes onto all the things that I, that I explained a little while ago, you know, um, your psych, psychosocial hazard, you know, it's all about the mental side of things.

There's different areas we can go in to find what programs are suited and to what answers we need, whether it comes under work health and safety, whether it's a, um, an incident that's happened, you know, at home.

And don't forget, we, we, we work at home these days as well.

So that's imperative because that, that still falls under the work health and safety. And, um, I know with the ones that we have, we've got it all documented.

So if site managers or construction managers wanna reach out to us at any time as part of our social responsibility, we can then go back to them with all the information needed and everything to comply with what they need.

Question two, as an employee for so many amazing op companies, you've identified work safety as being paramount, but as business owner in your own ventures, do you feel even greater pressure to oversee and force work? Absolutely. So being, like I said before, being a director, being a, an owner of, of, of a company where we, we, the steel fabrication, we had, you know, 80 direct staff just within, under, under shed, you know, people working in the office and people down in the shed. So we, we were always working, making sure there was safety plans put in place, making sure that, you know, working with the operations manager, the, each PM would then have, uh, a stream a team under them as well, making sure that everything's compliant. We'd have our weekly meetings as, and then our, our monthly meetings to make sure A, you know, everything was adhered to. B, making sure that the safety plan plans were, were rear in place and C that no there was no injuries. And if there was, then we would have to, um, follow the process and the protocol of, um,of that injury. Sustained.

Question three, you started your professional career as an athlete during a period of time when it was really difficult to speak on a mental health and safety.

Do you feel proud knowing how far or professional sports come as it relates to recognising the need for athletes to be open about these um, challenges? Yeah, I, I, I'm pretty, I feel pretty, it's a good question 'cause I feel pretty proud. 'cause at the time, even when I was going through this, I didn't know.

I didn't know the what, what was going on. Cause I was such a happy sort of bubbly person.

Loved to be out and about at training, loved to be with my mates after, after training, going in coffee, going in lunch or whatever it may be. But I, I, I think growing up in my era, and I'm sounding like I'm, I'm pretty old, but you know, this is only 10 years ago, you know, I used, I used to see it, I still really good friends with some ex NRL players that were going through some same things at the time. And had it been for a, I was playing at the Newcastle Jets and um, Neil Halpin, one of the, um, the sports doctors down there, he, he, he could identify, cause I wish to go and see him. He used to be the Jetson, the in the Newcastle Knights doctor. And he, he could, he could see what was going on straight away. And for me it was being in denial, I guess, which is probably the, the best term to use that.

How could I be depressed? How could I be, how could I be anxious?

How could I have this? That's not me. I, you know, I've got a, I've got a wife, I've got a kids,

I've been playing some really good football playing in the national team, playing the Asian Cup in Qatar. You know, the life was great, but at home things I would, I, it was really hard for me to, to express myself to, and this typically with males as well.

This does happen with females as well, but, um, typically with males, that you wanna take everything and control it and, and, and, and, and be brave and no, I can do it myself. But I was, yes, I was like that a little bit.

But then once you get help and hadn't it been for the doctor to really identify me, diagnose me and see what was going on with me, that I knew that something was wrong, that was wrong.

And then as I got help, as I was going through the process, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel.

It took a little while to get me there, but it was a, and then I could feel, then you have the support, then you go and talk with your family and then all of a sudden it's like a big weight off your chest is, is gone. And then it took me a little while, but used to have all the, the positive things I used to say to myself, all the positive, um, things I had at the time and, you know, all the things that, you know, made me who I am I should have been really proud of. And now at the time, I, I wasn't proud of who I was and where I've come, probably because of my upbringing, probably because I grew up in housing commission, probably because I had no money and all these things over years, over time, you know, people used to watch me, Jade North, uh, there's a Socceroo he's playing for Brisbane Royal, he's playing for that.

And I guess the, it was all the judging and the, the armchair critics that were, uh, look, you know, we're playing a World Cup qualifier over in Qatar.

It's 47 degrees during the day and it's 45 degrees when we're walking out.

How are you supposed to perform? People are watching you on tv. So, you know, all these pressures and everything like that, you know, used to get to you, you know, a little bit of social media at the time, you know, the comments that people used to say and all the things.

And I guess it used to build up that anxiety and anxiety and depression for me, uh, are very similar.

It's a very vicious cycle. And once you can grab it by the, by the horns and identify what you're going through, the process becomes a lot easier.

Question four, how do you encourage safety in your mentorship program?

Safety is paramount within Hutchies as it is.

But when we're dealing with, we, we might have guys that are operating cranes at the Hutchies crane yard.

We might have guys that are running their own business as a sub.

They might be doing concreting. So they've already, they've already got these measures put in place through what Hutchies does and what filters out to all the, um, and it's just reiterating what's already put in place, the processes that need to be done. And we're just making sure that, yes, it's pretty much like a checklist that we'd go out and see all of our subcontractors, our brothers and sisters that are working on sites and it's making sure not only are they complying with the PPE gear or, or the health hazard safety measures that are put in place, but it's also just making sure, reaching out and, and just checking in if they're okay and just being there for someone.

Because don't forget some of these Indigenous First Nations people, this is their first time coming to the big smoke, coming to Brisbane, going to Sydney, going to Melbourne. And for me, I related back to sport.

You know, I had opportunity when I was 17, 18 years old, getting offers to go to, um, bio Aku and Aax and all these things.

And all I wanted to do was spend my time here with mob, my family.

And I didn't really wanna, again, it comes down to not having a mentor, not having a father figure, not having someone there to help drive you. So, and this is what I do now with Hutchies is to really help and drive and, and give that support because support is key.

Support is key to understanding the hazards, the safety measures that need to be put in place. And again, I can't stress making mob and everybody throughout the community going to work safe and coming home safe.

Next question, how do you talk to the young, uh, how do you talk to the young people starting in construction to help them understand safety as a priority?

And I can't see that and how to be aware for safety hazards? Again,

it just goes back to my, to to the question for, um, earlier, it's making sure that there's, there's the right, um, protocols that are, that are put into place when we're getting youngsters coming through, even though our TRI trade on a live site. The site manager will come down and we're talking, we're, we're working on a $200 million project.

So you can imagine there's cranes going, there's foreman going at it. There's there's all different people that are coordinating these different trades whilst we've got a young group walking through. So we have to make sure that all, it's like ticking a list off of making sure, even from the basic counting how many numbers there are, making sure everyone's signed in, everyone's got the adequate, adequate, um, safety measure to put in place.

You're wearing your safety helmet wherever you go. So it's, again, it goes without saying, the industry that I'm in at the moment that accidents can happen.

Accidents happen every day, accidents can happen for me, uh, anyone driving from here down to the my next destination, things happen. But what I wanna be clear on is making sure that you put measures in to make sure that that next trip that you get there safely.

And the same as in on a construction site or in the blue collar industry in the cleaning, in the steel fabrication. That measures have to be put in place through your organisation.

And that everyone follows that down to a T.

And if we can do that as a whole throughout our community, wherever we go, we can again get to work and come home safely.

Last question.

What are some of the safety key messages you share with the many workplace places you, you visit? Again, it's, it's, you know, being compliant, making sure you're looking at your checklist, making sure you have all the safety requirements put in place. Um, again,

I feel the, the last couple of questions, I, I think I've kind of answered, um, what, what it is. But it, um, safety is paramount. That's, that's one of the first things that we, that we say. And if you were, if you follow all the protocol and everything that's put in place, and again, if those aren't put in place by your organisation, it, it filters from the top down.

And if you've got a great organisation, great leaders and great people, like as we do at the Hutchies, then you're forever know that you're in a safe working environment, whether it's male or female, everybody wants to be, wants to feel safe whenever you go to go to work. Same with me as, as a footballer. If you are, if you feel safe in your environment or the measures put in place to get yourself fit for the games, same in work. You know, you're gonna perform at your very best.

And if you've got that great culture within your organisation, then you're gonna succeed and be successful. It's been highlighted. I can't see that now.

One more question, final question.

What do you think the differences in safety from where you worked in and lived in Japan to Australia? I, that's a good question. Cause I was playing football at the time, and, and I'll answer this in a, in a football term. There was, believe me, there's many, many safety procedures that have put in Japan. I was, when I first signed in 2011, that was there, I was over there for the, the biggest earthquake that was ever recorded.

And that was a 9.1 on the Richter scale. So that was my first taste of being involved in a, in an earthquake since Kobe 1995, the earthquake was underneath and that brought down freeways. So you could imagine all the compliance and all the safety measures and all the, how the buildings actually ha sway with the earthquakes. Yeah, it was, um, even very detailed from in community in, in Japan. But even, and the training pitch, everything was so detailed, everything was so measured, everything was so, um, they do it so well over there. And so professional and I, and I can say the Japanese, they are very, um, resilient people, but also the technology and the infrastructure and everything that got put in place over there is, is pretty much second to none. So yes, there was safety measures put in place because there was different protocols about, you know, with the radiation, um, tsunamis that were coming in at the time, you know, it's, um, the radiation for us as foreigners, that was a big safety hazard for us.

And after the earthquake, you know, the foreigners from each team had to get evacuated back to, um, to Australia. And unfortunately the Japanese, um, players, which I felt sorry for, you know, had to stay back in Japan while we come back to Australia.

So once all those safety measures were put in place and they were doing checks all around Tokyo, all around different, uh, railway stations all around, you know, all the infrastructure they've got over there to help make safe place for us to go back and, and, and, and be involved in the sport that we loved. And, you know, I love my time in Japan, career in Norway, all the, all the challenge that I faced.

It's made me who I am today and I'm proud to be where I am today to give this presentation. So once again, I just wanna say thank you for your time today.

It's been an honour and I hope you all got something out of this today. Thank you.