Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt has released the National Roadmap for Indigenous Skills, Jobs and Wealth Creation, which aims to provide opportunities to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for highly skilled, highly paid jobs in Australia’s mining industry.
The National Roadmap will provide a long-term commitment and organising framework to implement actions that will lift economic outcomes for Australia’s Indigenous peoples.
The minerals industry employs a higher proportion of Indigenous Australians than other sectors as well as about 18 per cent of Indigenous men in remote areas.
“The roadmap reinforces mining’s important and ongoing role in supporting First Nations people, communities and businesses to achieve their economic priorities, especially in regional and remote Australia,” Minerals Council of Australia chief executive officer Tania Constable said.
Mining companies recognise the benefits of employing a local workforce that is bolstering Indigenous participation, and Indigenous Australians make up around 3.8 per cent of workers in the mining and resources sector, which is higher than their share of the population.
“About 10 per cent of all mining apprenticeships are Indigenous Australians,” Constable said.
“Building on this, mining is committed to increasing the number of Indigenous Australians in leadership, professional and engineering roles, strengthening procurement practices and enhancing partnerships that support Traditional Owner social and economic priorities.”
The National Roadmap is a collaborative effort between governments, businesses, industries, the public and non-government sector, and Indigenous Australians.
There are 16 industry champions, including Constable, who are working closely with Wyatt to support the National Roadmap’s development from the industry’s perspective.
“As one of the largest customers of Indigenous businesses nationally, mining has seen firsthand the importance of business ownership and development to First Nations people and communities,” Constable said.
The National Roadmap comes after the Federal Government’s partnership with the First Nations Heritage Protection Alliance, ensuring Indigenous involvement in project planning on their land, including mine proposals and developments.
It also follows a recent announcement from the WA Government, that introduced the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill 2021 to Parliament, to ensure Aboriginal people can negotiate outcomes for projects and opportunities on their lands.