WA Premier Alan Carpenter has welcomed Australia’s largest indigenous contract between BHP Billiton Iron Ore and Ngarda Civil and Mining.
Carpenter said the contract, worth in excess of $300million over five years, would provide great education, training and long-term employment opportunities for indigenous Western Australians.
From April next year, Ngarda Civil and Mining will manage and operate BHP Billiton Iron Ore’s Yarrie iron ore mine, which is situated ABOUT 200km east of Port Hedland in the Pilbara.
“Western Australia has a booming economy and we need to ensure that indigenous people are given the best possible opportunity to participate in that economy,” the Premier said.
“When we came to Government in 2001, the indigenous unemployment rate was 20 per cent compared to the general Western Australian rate of 7.3 per cent.
“The indigenous unemployment rate is now around 14 per cent compared with the general rate of 3.3 per cent.
“This is significant progress but more needs to be done.
“However, it’s not just up to Government to provide jobs to indigenous people – we need the private sector and indigenous communities to play their part.”
Carpenter congratulated BHP Billiton on the company’s significant commitment to indigenous development.
“BHP Billiton is one of the State’s leaders in this area and today’s announcement will deliver benefits to indigenous people in the Pilbara for many years to come,” he said.
“BHP Billiton Iron Ore currently employs more than 600 indigenous people through its different operations and contractors in WA.
“Indigenous owned and operated enterprise, such as Ngarda Civil and Mining, also has a growing role in the resources sector.
“Together they are providing long-term sustainable employment for indigenous people and helping indigenous communities achieve economic viability – an outcome we want to see expanded beyond the resources sector.”
The Premier recently announced a major indigenous employment and economic development forum in Perth on November 30.
The forum will involve leading figures in business and industry, indigenous stakeholders, training providers and Government to discuss and develop new initiatives to promote Aboriginal job creation in WA.