The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) has welcomed $123 million in federal government funding to support Indigenous businesses and communities in their responses to the coronavirus.
Indigenous Australians Minister Ken Wyatt said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are particularly vulnerable and more resources will strengthen their ability to manage the ongoing threat and impacts of the pandemic.
MCA chief executive officer, Tania Constable, praised the decision, adding that the minerals industry has a responsibility to keep remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities safe during the pandemic.
“Under the national resources protocols, the industry has ceased non-essential contact with remote communities and has special arrangements in place where workers are resident near remote communities, along with other measures to keep people safe,” she said.
“Many companies also supported Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to return safely to their remote home community.”
The $123 million support will be spent over two years to help Indigenous communities boost resources in the face of the pandemic.
Indigenous Business Australia will be given $50 million over coming months.
Regions and industries facing labour shortfalls will be given up to $25 million, land councils across the Northern Territory will share in $10 million, and community night patrols will receive a further $10 million.
Constable also welcomed additional support for the Indigenous business sector.
“The sector is proud to be a significant and long-standing customer of Indigenous businesses, and the support announced today recognises and will sustain the unique characteristics of Australia’s vibrant and diverse Indigenous business sector,” she said.