Release type: Joint Media Release


40 New Indigenous retail workers for Mackay and Townsville


Senator the Hon Mark Arbib
Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development
Minister for Sport
Minister for Social Housing and Homelessness

Mackay and Townsville retail sectors will get a boost of skilled workers following the announcement of two innovative projects between the Gillard Government, Salvation Army Employment Plus and Woolworths.

Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development Mark Arbib today said the Salvation Army Employment Plus Indigenous Employment Project would see up to 40 Indigenous Australians receive pre-employment training and mentoring that would lead to jobs with Woolworths.

“This is a great opportunity for participants to get long term jobs with a major company like Woolworths as well as addressing skills shortages in the Mackay and Townsville regions,” Senator Arbib said.

“Participants will complete accredited training with a Certificate I in Retail Services, then progressing on to get qualifications in Retail Services (Stores Operations) or Food Processing (Retail Baking - Bread or Meat Processing).

“This is not training for training sake – it will lead to long term job opportunities for the participants not only in Mackay and Townsville but around Australia.”

Senator for Queensland Jan McLucas said the Australian Government’s Indigenous Employment Program is providing more than $300,000 for both projects.

“Salvation Army Employment Plus is working with Woolworths to prepare Indigenous participants with the necessary skills to place them in sustainable retail sector jobs,” Senator McLucas said.

“Woolworths is also conducting cross-cultural awareness training with existing staff to ensure that there is a shared understanding of cultural and workplace issues.

“Closing the Gap on Indigenous employment cannot be the sole responsibility of the Federal Government. With the support of other levels of Government, and the community and private sectors we will continue to provide job opportunities for Indigenous Australians.”

Senator Arbib said Federal Treasury has estimated that 500,000 jobs would be created over the next two years and it was critical that Indigenous Australians had the support and training they needed to take up employment opportunities.

“Indigenous employment is not a short-term issue. Over the next four years the Australian Government has committed almost $650 million to the Indigenous Employment Program and $50 million to the Indigenous Youth Careers Pathway Program,” Senator Arbib said.

“This is part of the Australian Government’s goal to help Indigenous students find a job or move into further study and create more than 100,000 jobs for Indigenous Australians by 2018.”