A $100,000 Indigenous employment partnership has been renewed between the state government and the Queensland Resources Council (QRC).
The QRC will match the government’s contribution, with $200,000 total funding provided over the 2015-16 financial year. Curtis Pitt, Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, said the resources sector is a major source of employment opportunities.
However, he acknowledged that employment among Indigenous demographics remains under-represented. Mr Pitt claimed a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) would be completed this month to cement the new partnership.
“We want to give more Indigenous Queenslanders the opportunity to carve out rewarding resources careers,” he commented. “That’s what this new MoU will focus on, and we’ll work with QRC to ensure more Indigenous Queenslanders can access opportunities with resources companies.”
The QRC-government arrangement began in 2007, with Mr Pitt claiming it has a “proven track record” for boosting Indigenous employment across the state. Nearly 1,000 full-time Indigenous personnel worked at Queensland’s resources companies at the beginning of 2015.
Indigenous apprenticeships in Queensland
According to the state government, apprenticeships in Queensland for First Nations people remain a priority. Mr Pitt said training and upskilling are key tools for enabling more Indigenous individuals to thrive in the workplace.
“In recent months, we’ve helped to place more than 70 young Indigenous Queenslanders in construction apprenticeships in the resources sector,” he added.
Michael Roche, QRC Chief Executive, said the state government’s commitment to renewing the employment partnership was good news for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. He added that his organisation is excited to be embarking on a new chapter in the arrangement.
Mr Roche claimed the MoU is a win-win for both companies and potential employees. Not only does it provide individuals with the skills they need to succeed, companies can benefit from a new talent pool of qualified candidates.
A QRC poll of members revealed there were 995 full-time employees in the state’s mining sector at the end of last year, compared with 802 in 2013.
“Almost 90 per cent of those surveyed reported the MoU had increased the likelihood that their company would invest more effort and resources into indigenous participation strategies,” he added.
His comments came after QRC’s Indigenous Awards ceremony on Monday (June 1). The event, held in Brisbane, was established last year to celebrate the contributions of First Nations people to the resources sector in Queensland.
By Leanne Macnamara, Public Affairs Coordinator