The Federal Government and the Mineral Council of Australia (MCA) have announced an initiative to tackle indigenous poverty in mining regions.
The new agreement was officially launched in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by the Deputy Prime Minister, Julia Gillard earlier this week at a Minerals Council of Australia dinner.
The plan will involve expanding access to the employment and business development opportunities available to indigenous people and communities.
“Indigenous Australians and minerals companies all stand to gain from the improved opportunities for companies to source local labour, products and services,” Gillard said at the dinner.
“The MoU will encourage local partnerships that strengthen regional economies and further improve the economic sustainability of rural and remote Australia, an outcome which is essential for the minerals industry.”
The MoU was signed by Indigenous Affairs Minister, Jenny Macklin, Minister for Employment Participation, Brendan O’Connor, Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson and by MCA Chairman, Ian Smith.
According to the MCA, the initiative is supported by the Government’s Job Services Australia providers, the reformed Community Development Employment Projects and the Indigenous Employment Program.
“The minerals industry recognises that the effective engagement of indigenous people in our industry is not only the right thing to do, but there is a compelling business case,” Ian Smith said.
“In working with the Australian Government to redevelop the MoU, it was agreed there was value in further aligning the minerals industry’s efforts with the Government’s priorities on indigenous affairs.”