SHAPING ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES FOR INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIANS

The Minerals Council of Australia today launched Crafting the future: Mining industry engagement with Indigenous Australia, a policy paper on future job opportunities and economic development in Indigenous communities.

Written by Nyunggai Warren Mundine AO and Elizabeth Henderson, the paper was released at the MCA’s annual Environment and Communities Workshop in Melbourne, which brought together industry professionals, managers and community and environmental practitioners.

The paper discusses ways the minerals industry can meet its future workforce needs while improving opportunities for Indigenous communities including jobs, training and economic and business development initiatives, especially in remote communities.

Australia’s mining industry is the largest employer of Indigenous people in the private sector and provides significant opportunities for Indigenous small businesses.

The authors of Crafting the future say the minerals industry has been a leader in Indigenous employment and in bringing Indigenous businesses into industry supply chains.

But they warn that looming demographic, technological and economic changes will put new pressures on disadvantaged Indigenous communities, which already face significant barriers to economic development.

They call for the minerals industry and Indigenous communities to address these challenges by sharpening their engagement and focussing strongly on boosting Indigenous participation in employment and commerce.

The paper’s proposals include:

  • Expanding training of Indigenous workers to equip them with skills they can use in their communities when they finish on mining projects
  • Training Indigenous workers in book-keeping, accounting and financial and commercial skills that can be utilised to establish and run their own business enterprises
  • Creating demand for locally-supplied goods and services by sourcing supplies from local businesses to service mining projects
  • Establishing programs to improve Indigenous workers’ skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines.

Crafting the future will provide a valuable input to policy development on Indigenous engagement and economic development in regional and remote communities.

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