Some of the state’s leading resources companies have meet over recent days to discuss how to engage more Indigenous businesses and workers in their supply chains, according to the Queensland Resources Council (QRC).
The Best Practice Forum on Procuring from Indigenous Businesses was organised through a memorandum of understanding (MoU) regarding the increase of Indigenous participation in the local resource and mining industries. The April 2 forum was attended by recruitment and procurement staff from a range of organisations, including coal seam gas companies, coal companies from the Bowen Basin and North West Queensland copper mining operations.
QRC signed the MoU alongside federal and state government representatives in September last year. This unique commitment to improving Indigenous employment is expected to last for another six months.
The MoU requires the governments and industry stakeholders ‘to work in partnership with each other … to create sustainable economic development and employment opportunities that will contribute to building strong and sustainable Indigenous families and communities in Queensland’.
This includes offering education, training, employment and business development in Queensland’s resources sector. The April forum, while focused on Indigenous business, should help improve opportunities in each required field.
“By involving Indigenous businesses, the resources sector can contribute to more jobs and greater economic prosperity for indigenous Queenslanders, which helps to close the gap on indigenous disadvantage,” QRC Chief Executive Michael Roche said in an April 2 media statement.
The Australian government recently announced investment in Indigenous traineeships in Queensland, delivering on their MoU promise.
A new $4 million strategy was launched in February this year, designed to provide four years of improved training opportunities.
“Local employers and Indigenous organisations as well as industry will be involved in identifying the skills and employment needs as well as the geographic areas where they are needed,” Minister for Education, Training and Employment John-Paul Langbroek said of the strategy.
“Increased employment is fundamental to securing a better economic future for Indigenous people as a way to increasing community sustainability, supporting self-sufficiency and improving social cohesion.”
Other strategies initiated under the MoU include the North West Queensland Indigenous Resources Industry Initiative and Indigenous Participation in the Coal and Coal Seam Gas (CSG) Sectors plan.
These programs have been launched in an effort to create a culture of participation among Indigenous communities across Queensland. Benefits of the MoU are expected to last for generations, according to QRC.
By Leanne de Toerkenczy, Public Relations Coordinator