The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has welcomed BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance’s (BMA) focus on Indigenous employment initiatives in the state.
At the QRC Indigenous Awards earlier this month, BMA won an accolade for its Indigenous Recruitment Strategy. The initiative’s objective is to ensure people from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds make up 5 per cent of the company’s workforce.
Forty-four per cent of new trainees are already Indigenous Australians, and BMA’s Daunia Mine employs 4.75 per cent Aboriginal staff.
Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Curtis Pitt presented BMA the award at a QRC ceremony in Brisbane last week. Mr Pitt also announced the government’s renewal of the Indigenous Employment Program at the event.
The government signed a memorandum of understanding with the QRC for the scheme, with both sides contributing $100,000 to improve Indigenous employment in Queensland. Apprenticeships and traineeships across the state are expected to benefit in particular.
QRC Chief Executive Michael Roche said: “These awards play an important part in increasing the diversity of our resources sector workforce, and recognising and encouraging participation by Indigenous people.”
He claimed the QRC ceremony promotes and celebrates work and training achievements among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, while showcasing key industry role models and ambassadors.
BMA commit to Indigenous employment
Sonia Lewis, Head of Human Resources at BMA, highlighted the Daunia Mine as a milestone in the company’s progress, adding that other operational areas are also approaching the 5 per cent target.
“A key aspect of the strategy was direct engagement by the BMA recruitment team with Indigenous people, including traditional owner groups across south-east Queensland and the Cairns region,” she stated.
“BMA is committed to hands-on implementation of its Indigenous recruitment strategy, to fully integrate it into mainstream recruitment practices and for it to be recognised as creating real value and not merely as an add-on.”
According to Ms Lewis, Indigenous employment practices have undergone a “quantum shift” in recent years. Managers are now keen to expand the number of people they hire from Aboriginal demographics following positive workforce experiences.
QRC statistics show there are already positive changes in Queensland, with 995 Aboriginal Australians hired in the resources sector at the end of last year, compared with 802 in 2013. Ms Lewis said these trends are encouraging for the ongoing development of BMA’s Indigenous employment schemes.
By Leanne Macnamara, Public Relations Coordinator