The Minerals Council of Australia welcomes the government’s new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy, introducing a practical approach to enhance Indigenous employment in the public sector.

Closing the gap in communities across regional and remote Australia will involve an intergenerational approach focusing on education, employment pathways and career progression.  The Strategy’s framework is clear in its objectives to expand pathways in the public sector.  

The public sector’s presence across regional Australia is wide-reaching.  The Strategy will help lead to more sustainable communities by encouraging local Indigenous employment initiatives in regional agency offices and programs.

The mining industry has a long-standing approach to working in partnership with the Commonwealth, state and territory governments and NGOs to improve Indigenous employment outcomes and share best practice.

The minerals industry is the largest private sector employer of Indigenous men and women, now accounting for more than 6 per cent of the industry’s total workforce.  At some mine sites, up to 30 per cent of the workforce is Indigenous. 

The mining industry also contributes to Indigenous employment through its engagement with Indigenous businesses across Australia.  The minerals industry purchased goods and services worth $2.2 billion in 2011-12.  This compares with public sector procurement of just $39 million in the same year.

The minerals industry is determined to expand Indigenous Australians’ opportunities and seeks to continuously improve and enhance this, particularly through investment in training and education initiatives from school to employment.

The recently completed ten-year MCA and Commonwealth MoU on Indigenous Enterprise and Employment delivered a range of outcomes with regional and remote communities in pre-qualification assistance, employment services directly linked to private sector demand, and adult education and training.

The MCA’s recently released publication, The Whole Story, illustrates the industry’s commitment to Indigenous partnerships and employment in detail.  The MCA welcomes ongoing opportunities to engage with government on initiatives to close the gap, especially where mining is a catalyst for economic growth.

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