Rob Johnson

Rob Johnson


    Ocean Reef man features in new book on Government migrant workers

    15/12/2000 11:20 AM

    The inspirational stories of people working in one of the world’s most diverse workplaces can be found in a new publication called Voices of Diversity.

    Voices of Diversity traces the journeys of 14 migrants now working in Western Australia’s public sector and is a joint project of the Office of Citizenship and Multicultural Interests and the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity.

    Citizenship and Multicultural Interests Minister Rob Johnson said Voices of Diversity provided a unique insight into the experiences of migrants in the workplace.

    “Many State public sector employees were born overseas and their contributions highlight the importance of this sector as an equal opportunity employer able to support difference and promote diverse management practices,” Mr Johnson said.

    “Specifically, these authors provide inspiration for dealing with obstacles, relay positive experiences and offer suggestions to new recruits who may find themselves in similar positions.”

    One of the employees, Ocean Reef’s Errol D’Rosario, arrived in Australia with just $8 in his pocket.

    Mr D’Rosario, who is the current president of the Australian Anglo-Indian Association, found it tough at first to have his qualifications in commerce recognised by Australian employers.

    “When I arrived in 1975, I found that employers overlooked my background because they claimed I did not have Australian experience,” Mr D’Rosario said.

    “I believed that to complete a set of accounts, I needed to use the same double entry book-keeping system I had used in India, or draft letters using the same appropriate business language that I had at the Chamber.

    “After four weeks of pounding pavements, I got a job in administration in a traditional organisation. Although similar to my previous work, there were new industrial elements and so on my third day as a test, I was asked to calculate the weekly wages of all employees and have them ready for the next morning.

    “No guessing how I spent that night! Thankfully, the calculations were correct and won me the respect and friendship of my colleague and secured my tenure.”

    From there, Mr D’Rosario went on to work in human resources at a luxury hotel where diversity was encouraged and then became involved in State Government employment and training initiatives.

    Currently working in human resources at the Education Department, Mr D’Rosario wants to help educate people to appreciate and respect difference in all its cultural and social forms.

    Voices of Diversity features the stories of migrants from Canada, China, Egypt, India, Malaysia, Philippines, Portugal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Venezuela and Vietnam.

    Copies are available from State Government agency libraries or by calling Public Affairs at the Office of Citizenship and Multicultural Interests on 9426 8690.

    Media contact: Fran Hodge (08) 9215 4800