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Industry and government boost indigenous employment

THE State Government has committed $100,000 to renew an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander jobs partnership with the Queensland Resources Council.

Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Curtis Pitt announced the funding when presenting the second annual Queensland Resources Council Indigenous Awards in Brisbane.

This was matched with an additional $100,000 from the Queensland Resources Council for the program, which began in 2007 with the signing by then Premier Peter Beattie of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the QRC and the government.

The program aims to increase indigenous employment in the resources sector both directly and through engagement of indigenous businesses.

QRC Chief Executive Michael Roche thanked the government, saying that the results of the MOU programs speak for themselves.

“Our second annual survey of members confirmed a total of 995 full-time indigenous employees in the resources sector the end of 2014, compared with 802 the previous year,” he said.

“Almost 90 per cent of those surveyed reported the MoU had increased the likelihood that their company would invest more effort and resources into indigenous participation strategies, while just over 70 percent of companies told us they had employed more indigenous people and businesses because of the MoU.

“The awards presented tonight pay further tribute to the progress in indigenous employment, which came in the wake of the MoU.”

Mr Roche said the awards “acknowledge the importance of increasing the diversity of our resources sector workforce, and recognise and encourage participation by indigenous people”.

“They promote and celebrate leading practice indigenous employment and training achievements in the resources sector and are presented during Reconciliation Week to showcase indigenous people as role models and ambassadors for the sector,” he said.

“I congratulate the individuals and companies who nominated for the awards, and especially the winners of the various categories for their outstanding efforts.

“This increasingly successful participation in the Queensland resources sector has changed the lives of many indigenous people, their families and communities.

“It is fantastic to see that, even in these challenging times for the resources sector, more and more indigenous people are sharing in the opportunities available within the resources sector, and their commitment and hard work changing attitudes towards indigenous people in the workforce.”

The winners were:

Exceptional Indigenous Person: Lisa Peckham – Heavy Machinery Operator Glencore Mount Isa Mines
Exceptional Indigenous Business: Myuma Pty Ltd, based in Camooweal
Indigenous Advocacy (equal) Champions: Paul Travers, Manager Community BHP Coal (Brisbane) and Matthew Ralph, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Strategy and Engagement Advisor Origin Energy (Brisbane)
Best Company Indigenous Initiative: BMA Indigenous Recruitment Strategy for Daunia Mine and Caval Ridge Mines in Central Queensland.

About 200 people attended the awards ceremony, opened with a welcome to country by indigenous Songwoman Maroochy Barambah.

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