Release type: Media Release


Minister visits Cairns and Yarrabah


Senator the Hon Mark Arbib
Minister for Employment Participation
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Government Service Delivery

Minister for Employment Participation Mark Arbib visited Cairns and Yarrabah today in his continuing efforts to work with Leichhardt MP Jim Turnour on a plan for jobs in Cairns.

Senator Arbib’s third visit to the region in the past three months included a meeting with Aboriginal leader Noel Pearson and a visit to Yarrabah.

“The Federal Government will support Mr Pearson’s Cape York Institute to co-locate with the Cairns Institute,” Senator Arbib said.

“The Cape York Institute is doing some great work in Indigenous economic and social reform and supports the development of current and future Cape York leaders.

“The Government is committed to continuing to work with Mr Pearson and his team to further that critical work for Indigenous communities.”

The Minister also visited the community of Yarrabah after announcing $450,000 for its Construction Industry Upskilling and Employment Project during his visit to Cairns last month.

The Australian Government provided $450,000 to Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council to continue their program of upskilling 60 construction workers by providing structured support and pathways for sustainable employment in the building industry.

“I met with Yarrabah community leaders last month and promised that next time I was in Cairns I would visit the community and hear more about how the project will help address the high levels of unemployment in the Yarrabah Aboriginal Community,” Senator Arbib said.

“The project was developed by Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council, the Australian Government’s Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations and the Queensland Government and coincides with the building of 32 homes in the community.“

Four key groups within the community will benefit from the project:

  • qualified tradespeople who need updated skills;
  • trades assistants and semi-skilled workers;
  • new building workers who will receive TAFE accredited training; and
  • civil construction workers requiring current machine operator tickets.

Senator Arbib said the Federal Government was committed to closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

“Helping people get a job is also the best way to fight poverty and social disadvantage in Indigenous communities,” Senator Arbib said.

“The Government has said we will halve the gap in employment within a decade. This means an additional 100,000 Indigenous Australians will need to find and keep jobs in that time.

“Job-generating and training programs like the Construction Industry Upskilling and Employment Project help us work towards that goal.”