The Federal Government has pumped $21.9 million into the next generation of Indigenous business leaders which has been well received by the mining industry.
The Indigenous Leadership and Governance package includes $13.5 million to the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME), $6.7 million for Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC) and $1.7 million to the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA).
The funding comes in line with a National Roadmap for Indigenous Skills, Jobs and Wealth Creation released in December 2021 by Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt.
“When I launched the Roadmap at the end of last year it was clear that we need to strengthen Indigenous leadership and governance capability across the nation,” Wyatt said on the funding.
“This is about supporting the aspirations of Indigenous youth to dream big and thrive at no matter what they turn their minds to as well as providing the tools for all Indigenous businesses and businesspeople to take the next step towards expansion or leadership roles.”
According to latest figures, Indigenous Australians make up 3.7 per cent of Australia’s overall workforce – up to 20 per cent at some mine sites – and about 10 per cent of industry apprentices and trainees.
Mining also became the largest employer of Indigenous Australian men in remote areas in 2016.
Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) chief executive officer Tania Constable said it was vital to build upon this strong foundation to uplift more Indigenous Australians.
“Mining has a strong track record of supporting Indigenous businesses, with Indigenous business owner managers accounting for double the share of non-Indigenous owner managers in the sector,” she said.
“Building on decades of growth in the Indigenous mining equipment, technology and services sector, Aboriginal-owned mines and projects are also emerging.
“These include Yolngu-owned Gulkula bauxite mine and Anindilyakwa-owned minerals project in the Northern Territory.”