Release type: Media Release

Date:

Tourism Tropical North Queensland delivers Indigenous Employment Project

Ministers:

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

The State Government’sSkilling Queenslanders for Workinitiative has committed $294,500 to support 31 unemployed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to complete on the job training through Tourism Tropical North Queensland’s Indigenous Employment Program (IEP) which was launched today.

Local State Member for Cairns Desley Boyle said the participants would complete a Certificate III in Tourism while working with local employers in the region.

“The State Government identified supporting Indigenous training and employment in tourism around Cairns and Tropical North Queensland as a strategic investment that will improve job prospects for participants who can, in turn, improve tourists’ experiences when they visit the region,” Ms Boyle said.

“Queensland, as part of the Council of Australian Governments, is committed to halving the gap in employment outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people and the tourism industry is an important part of our economy that has shown excellent commitment to encouraging greater diversity in their workforce.”

The Tourism Tropical North Queensland Indigenous Employment Program has also received $231,640 from the Australian Government’s Indigenous Employment Program.

Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development Senator Mark Arbib said the Australian Government was committed to closing the gap on Indigenous employment.

“Tourism Tropical North Queensland’s IEP is a fantastic initiative to provide training and employment opportunities in tourism, one of Australia’s most vibrant and growing industries,” Senator Arbib.

“This program will provide Indigenous Australians in North Queensland with long-term job opportunities. A Certificate III in Tourism is recognised Australia-wide and will lead to good jobs in tourism and related sectors.”

Federal Minister for Tourism Martin Ferguson said the project will have national significance for the tourism industry, with additional research undertaken with the support of the Indigenous Tourism Working Group, established under theNational Long-Term Tourism Strategy. “The research will highlight issues that are restricting Indigenous Australians from considering or gaining employment in tourism and hospitality and identify opportunities that will increase employment outcomes.” Australian Tourism Ministers have established the Working Group to examine ways to improve the quality and quantity of Australia's indigenous tourism product offering and to maximise the participation of Indigenous Australians in the tourism industry.

Senator McLucas attended the launch and said the project matched the needs in the region for a skilled tourism workforce and a clear employment pathway for Indigenous people looking for work.

“Educating visitors and sharing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures with them is a unique experience Australia offers and the support from employers and Tourism Tropical North Queensland to develop and deliver this project is wonderful,” Senator McLucas said.

“By working with tourism businesses, participants will gain practical experience of what employers and tourists expect of staff in the industry.”

CEO of Tourism Tropical North Queensland Rob Giason said the objective is to encourage more Indigenous Australians into mainstream tourism jobs, and to encourage employers in other industry sectors to engage Indigenous employees.

“This project will link trainees with host employers in the tourism sector who have a long term commitment to Indigenous employment,” Mr Giason said.

During 2010/11 the Queensland Government will invest $106 million in theSkilling Queenslanders for Workinitiative to give an estimated 24,000 long-term unemployed and underemployed people job related assistance and skills training to maximise labour force participation and increase Queensland's prosperity.

The IEP is part of the Australian Government's commitment to Close the Gap on Indigenous employment. The Gillard Government has a target of creating more than 100,000 jobs for Indigenous Australians by 2018.

The Australian Government has committed more than $750 million over five years to the Indigenous Employment Program, to assist Indigenous Australians into ongoing, sustainable work.

For more information on theSkilling Queenslanders for Workinitiative visit www.employment.qld.gov.auor call 1300 369 925.