Stirling Hinchliffe MP
Minister for Employment, Skills and Mining
Indigenous Australians will have more access to job opportunities in Queensland’s resources sector after the Australian and Queensland Governments today announced a partnership with industry to work towards sustainable economic development for Indigenous Australians in Queensland.
Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development Mark Arbib, Minister for Indigenous Affairs Jenny Macklin and Queensland’s Employment, Skills and Mining Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the Memorandum of Understanding between the Federal and State Governments and the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) was great news for Indigenous jobseekers in Queensland.
“This agreement, which focuses on education and training, employment, enterprise and business development, will create sustainable business and job opportunities for Indigenous Australians in the resource-rich areas of Queensland,” Senator Arbib said.
“The size of Queensland’s resource sector will ensure Indigenous Australians have access to real job opportunities and skills that are transferable in an industry in need of skilled workers.”
Ms Macklin said the Australian and Queensland Governments would contribute $200 000 each over two years to support Queensland’s resources industry, through the QRC, to develop Regional Action Plans.
The QRC is contributing $140 000 over two years on behalf of the industry, which includes research support through the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining at the University of Queensland.
“These Plans will outline the specific strategies, activities, responsibilities, timeframes and performance indicators each party to the agreement will be required to meet in the regions covered by the MoU,” Ms Macklin said.
“These include things like explicit employment targets and joint projects to create jobs for local Indigenous people.”
Minister Hinchliffe said the new MoU builds on an agreement between the Queensland Government and QRC and covers the areas of North West Queensland and Bowen Basin.
“Mining is a big employer in the north west and the Bowen Basin, so it’s great to see two governments, the QRC and its member companies working together and backing jobs for Indigenous workers,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“The resources sector is well-placed to create job opportunities for Indigenous workers, especially in the North West, with a number of major mining projects in the pipeline.”
Senator Arbib said the new MoU ensures that Indigenous communities and stakeholders are involved and consulted in the development of any plans and projects.
“This is not training for training sake. The agreement unites governments, industry, employment providers and local communities to skilling Indigenous Australians and placing them into long term and meaningful jobs in the resource sector,” Senator Arbib said.
“This project achieves results on so many fronts by benefitting individuals, communities, companies, industry and the Australian economy.”
QRC Chief Executive Michael Roche said the MoU created a unique partnership between governments and industry to better coordinate employment, training and business opportunities for Indigenous people.
“We’ve got runs on the board. Under an earlier MoU, we’ve been working together in the North West and I’m looking forward to expanding our current work into the Bowen Basin and elsewhere if the opportunity arises,” Mr Roche said.
Mr Roche said companies already taking part in the program in the North West include BHP Billiton, Xstrata, MMG Century and Incitec Pivot.