Despite 23,000 resources jobs lost in Queensland during the downturn, new data reports a 20 per cent increase in the number of Indigenous employed in the sector last year.
The Queensland Resources Council survey on Indigenous participation also reported growth of Indigenous businesses within resources supply chains.
The resources sector spent $83 million with more than 55 Indigenous business, which translates into further indirect employment opportunities for Indigenous people.
These efforts, and the people and programs behind them, have been recognised at the prestigious Queensland Resources Council (QRC) Indigenous Awards last night.
The annual reconciliation week event includes five award categories spanning employment and training, procurement, local business, exceptional individual and advocacy champion.
Special guests at the award ceremony included the Queensland Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Curtis Pitt, Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham and Shadow Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Fiona Simpson.
Mr Pitt praised industry leaders for their engagement with Indigenous communities and efforts to drive local jobs.
“The latest QRC shows members have increased the total number of Indigenous employees recruited by the sector to have increased around 20 per cent since 2015,” Mr Pitt said.
“This is a significant commitment to employing and skilling Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders, who are now actively participating in the prosperity of our minerals and energy sector.
“I commend leaders in the industry for not just providing work and training opportunities for Indigenous Queenslanders but also delivering real jobs.”
Mr Pitt said the Palaszczuk Government was committed to working with all industry sectors to support job creation and training opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders.
QRC Chief Executive and member of the judging panel Michael Roche said the calibre of finalists across all the award categories was very impressive.
“As a sector that largely operates in regional and remote communities with high Indigenous populations, bridging the divide with tangible opportunity is of great priority,” Mr Roche said.
“We have a vested responsibility to spur opportunity for training, employment and local Indigenous business and I’m proud to say the sector does this well.”
Mr Roche said the annual Indigenous Awards were designed to recognise and celebrate those companies and individuals making a real difference and to inspire others to do the same.
More than 250 people attended the awards ceremony, opened with a welcome to country by Indigenous Songwoman Maroochy Barambah.
The QRC also supports constitutional recognition for Indigenous Australians and backs the public campaign to enshrine those rights through Reconciliation Australia’s Recognise campaign.
The winners include:
Indigenous Advocacy Award – Joint Winners
Noel Gertz – Senior Advisor Stakeholder Engagement and Strategy at Myuma
Penny Hamilton, Diversity Manager at Theiss
Best Company Indigenous Procurement Initiative – Winner
QGC, Brad Maher
Best Company Indigenous Employment and Training Initiative – Winner
Glencore North Queensland, Roslyn Brice-Houseman
Exceptional Indigenous Business – Winner
RBY Projects, Brad Maher
Exceptional Indigenous Person – Winner
Tom Draper, Client Representative for Portfolio Project Constructions.