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Employment Parity Initiative set to boost Indigenous job opportunities

The federal government has announced a new scheme that will generate 20,000 jobs for Indigenous people in Australia over the next five years.

Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion said the Employment Parity Initiative is designed to encourage some of the country’s top firms to take on First Australians in private sector positions.

“The chief executive officers (CEOs) of Australia’s biggest companies and those with a proven track record of employing large numbers of Indigenous workers will be invited to become Parity Employers,” he explained.

According to Mr Scullion, the Commonwealth will provide funding to eligible businesses in order to ensure Indigenous employment continues moving in the right direction.

“The CEOs will commit to championing the cause of employment parity within their business, industry and the broader community and the government will provide payments to the employers to cover additional costs of employing and retaining currently unemployed Indigenous Australians,” he added.

“All payments will be linked to 26-week outcomes or net increases in the number of Indigenous employees within a company.”

Mr Scullion said the government is keen to reduce the amount of red tape surrounding these employment arrangements. He added that simple, tailored contracts would be available, which will help facilitate the Indigenous employment process.

Hospitality jobs on the horizon

Compass Group and Accor Hotel Group are two businesses that have already signed up to provide partnerships under the Employment Parity Initiative.

Simon McGrath, Accor Pacific chief operating officer, said his organisation is proud to be linking with the federal government on such an important project.

“As an employer of over 10,000 hospitality staff nationally, we are focused on supercharging Indigenous employment from 318 employees currently and generating 1,000 job opportunities by 2018,” he stated.

Compass Group Australia Managing Director Mark Van Dyck made similar remarks, adding that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are key to the company’s sustainability and growth.

Mr Van Dyck said there is “tremendous untapped potential” available by boosting Indigenous employment rates, and his firm is committed to its role as an inaugural partner of the government’s Employment Parity Initiative.

The news followed a recent federal government announcement that more Indigenous businesses will be given lucrative public sector procurement contracts in the future.

Speaking earlier this month, Minister for Finance Mathias Cormann said the aim is for 3 per cent of procurement deals to go to Indigenous suppliers by 2020.

By Leanne Macnamara, Public Affairs Coordinator

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