QUEENSLAND resource sector companies have committed to an ambitious program aimed at improving the economic sustainability of indigenous communities in regional Queensland.
Joining Premier Peter Beattie in signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the state government at Yarrabah recently, Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Michael Roche said QRC members had long held the view that increased employment opportunities for indigenous people offered the best pathway towards more sustainable communities.
“Over the years, mining companies have been very successful encouraging the economic participation of local indigenous communities, reflected in the fact that the sector is the largest employer of indigenous people in the country,” Roche said.
“Through this agreement with the state government, we are now in a position to better coordinate and deliver at the regional level by encouraging work-ready education and training and opening up more opportunities through direct employment and related enterprise development.”
Roche said regional implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding would commence in the state government-designated Northern Economic Triangle (Mount Isa, Bowen, Townsville) before being extended to the Bowen Basin and eventually across Queensland.”While our initial focus is on regions with mining operations already in place, we are also keen to investigate the great potential for linkages with Cape York communities.
“The QRC, its member companies and the state government will work together and with relevant indigenous groups and organisations to boost education and training, increase sector employment of indigenous people and develop enterprises with economic links to minerals and energy production.
“This represents a significant opportunity for all parties to build stronger communities and support the state’s economic growth, where it is centred,” he said.
Roche said recent industry-state government initiatives including the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy and the Mining Industry Skills Centre would play major roles in supporting the MoU’s goals.