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Queensland resources industry recommits to promoting indigenous employment

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Global Mining Review,

The Queensland resources industry has announced that it is recommitting to playing its part in creating economic opportunities and jobs for Indigenous Australians following the release of the latest Closing the Gap report in the Federal Parliament.

Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive, Ian Macfarlane, said economic opportunities for Indigenous Australians are essential to making meaningful strides towards the Closing the Gap targets, and the resources sector had an important role to play.

“The Queensland resources sector is proud of our role in providing employment and economic opportunities to Indigenous Australians,” Macfarlane said.

“The resources sector is one of only two sectors in Queensland with a genuine representation of Indigenous employees. Indigenous people comprise 4% of the state’s workforce in resources and Queensland’s Indigenous population is 4.1%.

“The only other sector to match this is the public service. Across all industries in Queensland, the representation of Indigenous employees is 2.5%.

“Last year Indigenous employment grew by 11% in the resources sector. The resources sector is committed to doing even more to extend economic opportunities to First Australians, and we hope to see other sectors join us with the same goal.

“In just one example, our member company Santos employs Indigenous Australians at its Cooper Basin operations in south west Queensland providing employment pathways in remote areas.”

Senior Kullilli man, Peter White, said the resources sector was giving Indigenous Australians the opportunity to work in a well-paid sector in the Cooper Basin.

“From an economical point of view oil and gas are about the only jobs out there for the Kullilli people. There is nothing else we can do,” White said.

“They’ve always been very good to work for they listen to our complaints. They have always been good to us especially with the cultural heritage work.”

Santos Managing Director and CEO, Kevin Gallagher, said that as an Australian owned and operated business, Santos respects Aboriginal cultural heritage and custodianship of the land.

“Santos works closely with the traditional owners of the land we operate on. This creates employment opportunities for up to 80 local Indigenous people valued at more than AUS$1 million each year,” Gallagher said.

Macfarlane said in areas such as the far north region of the state companies such as Rio Tinto and Metro Mining had significant Indigenous participation numbers.

“Rio’s commitment to hiring locally was demonstrated with 1200 people employed at peak construction at its Amrum bauxite project, and since project inception in May 2016, close to 400 Indigenous Australians have been employed by the project. Metro Mining’s Indigenous workforce currently sits at 37% of the company’s workforce.

“Another milestone is Indigenous women in Queensland’s resources sector who represent 26% of the Indigenous workforce which is close to twice the non-Indigenous rate. The Indigenous workforce is also much younger than the overall resources sector workforce, with 43% under 35 compared to 35% of the overall resources workforce.”

The Closing the Gap 2018 update reported 6599 Indigenous Australians were employed by the mining industry an increase by 250% since 2006. The number of non-Indigenous Australians employed in mining had increased by 150% over the same period.

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