The Minerals Council of Australia welcomes the Federal Government’s plan to provide an additional $19.1 million to increase employment and economic development opportunities for Aboriginal people living in remote communities in the Northern Territory.

The employment and enterprise development provides a critical pathway for Aboriginal communities to participate in the mainstream economy and to enjoy the same opportunities as other Australians.

However, to enable this there is an imperative to enhance the institutional and economic capacity in Aboriginal communities, including through addressing the systemic underinvestment in social and physical infrastructure.

As a significant economic activity in remote Australia, the minerals industry recognises the opportunities it presents as a catalyst for enhanced community development outcomes in Aboriginal communities.

It is precisely for this reason that the minerals industry is the largest private sector employer of Indigenous Australians and is committed to working with Aboriginal communities to ensure that they share in the benefits of resource development.

The MCA supports the Government’s commitment to establish jobs brokers to connect Aboriginal people with industries that have significant labour shortages. This will obviously include links to the minerals and oil and gas sectors, whose combined growth in the NT is predicted to be around 40,000 new jobs to 2030.

In addition, the MCA welcomes the continued expansion of Indigenous rangers under the Caring for Country program.

This program, together with business development support, has the potential to link Aboriginal rangers to the mining sector where they can apply their land management skills in a commercial context, while also ensuring a protection of country and culture.

In this vein, the MCA is working with the Australian Government under a Memorandum of Understanding on Indigenous Employment and Enterprise Development to align the natural resource management opportunities in the public and private sector.

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