A survey on indigenous participation has reported a 20 per cent increase in the number of indigenous Australians employed in the resources sector in 2015.
The Queensland Resources Council Survey also found an increase in the number of indigenous businesses in the industry’s supply chains.
This comes despite the decline of the mining industry, with employment in QLD’s resources sector dropping by 23,000 since it’s peak in 2013.
The industry spent $83 million across more than 55 indigenous business to create more indirect employment prospects for indigenous people. The people and programs behind these efforts in indigenous business were recognised at this year’s QRC Indigenous Awards ceremony.
Held each year during Reconciliation Week, the ceremony includes five categories spanning across local business, employment and training, procurement, advocacy champion, and exceptional individual.
More than 250 people attended the event, with special guests including Curtis Pitt, Queensland treasurer and minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, shadow minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Fiona Simpson, and minister for natural resources and mines Anthony Lynham.
QRC chief Michael Roche, who was also one of the judges, said the awards celebrated individuals and companies making a difference; adding that the finalists in each category were of an impressive calibre.
“As a sector that largely operates in regional and remote communities with high indigenous populations, bridging the divide with tangible opportunity is of great opportunity,” he said.
“We have a vested responsibility to spur opportunity for training, employment, and local indigenous business, and I’m proud to say the sector does this well.”
At last year’s event, Pitt announced $100,000 in state government funding for an indigenous employment program, which was matched by an additional $100,000 from QRC.
The QRC also supports recognition of indigenous Australians in the constitution through Reconciliation Australia’s Recognise campaign.
Winners included QGC for best company indigenous procurement initiative; Glencore for best company indigenous employment and training initiative; RBY Projects for exceptional indigenous business; and joint winners Noel Gertz, Myuma Group, Penny Hamilton, and Thiess for the indigenous advocacy award.