Resource companies in the Bowen Basin will develop an Indigenous industry network group to better engage Indigenous businesses and boost employment.
Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development Mark Arbib and Senator for Queensland Jan McLucas said the Bowen Basin Indigenous Mining Contractors would provide advice and assistance to mining companies.
“Local Indigenous organisation First Enterprise will deliver the project and employ an economic and enterprise development manager and a liaison officer,” Senator Arbib said.
“They will provide assistance and advice to mining companies and contractors on how to engage current Indigenous businesses within the region and provide expertise on how Indigenous businesses can remain competitive for work with the mining companies.
“The program will help businesses which tender for contracts with mining companies to navigate the range of legislative and business quality assurance measures they must meet before they are eligible to tender.
“Of the 18 Indigenous businesses in the area, only two are currently working with mining companies – First Enterprise will work to change that.”
Senator McLucas said the Gillard Government would provide $715,000 to the project.
“Building on its relationship with mining companies, First Enterprise will promote the need to develop Indigenous employment strategies, and connect mining companies in the region with the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations to assist them to do this,” Senator McLucas said.
“The project is expected to see at least 10 Indigenous job and training programs for local mines and employers.”
Senator Arbib said Treasury predicted 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.
“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 Gillard Government’s target to create more than 100,000 jobs for Indigenous Australians by 2018.”