The Federal Government has committed to improving resource sector employment opportunities for indigenous Australians.
Queensland Resources Council (QRC) chief executive Michael Roche said the announcement of an Australian Employment Covenant by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Fortescue Metals Group chief executive officer Andrew Forrest endorsed efforts by the QRC, state and federal governments to bridge the gap between resource sector growth and indigenous participation.
Under a Memorandum of Understanding with the Queensland Government, a pilot project in North West Queensland is under development with a focus on growing indigenous employment in the resources sector and promoting opportunities for indigenous business enterprise.
According to Roche, the complexity of managing the expectations, roles and potential commitments of project stakeholders has proved to be an important lesson.
“There are a range of issues beyond improving the linkages between indigenous communities and employment opportunities in the resources sector that need to be resolved,” Roche said.
“As we have found, education support and work-readiness training must be complemented by living away from home assistance and personal mentoring.
“To meet national objectives, individual programs must be tailored for regional circumstances,” he said.
Roche said a successful North West Queensland pilot project would lay the foundations for similar initiatives in other parts of the state and potentially throughout the country.