Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Stronger Futures employment targets to deliver more local jobs in the Northern Territory

Joint Media Release with:

    Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth

    Minister for Indigenous Health
    Member for Lingiari

    Senator for the Northern Territory

There will be more local jobs for Aboriginal people in remote communities across the Northern Territory with employment targets set for all Australian Government funded services delivered as part of Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory.

The Minister for Indigenous Affairs Jenny Macklin today announced the Australian Government’s commitment to the employment targets during a visit to Wurli Wurlinjang Aboriginal Health Service in Katherine.

“Delivering more local jobs and better employment outcomes for Aboriginal people is a priority for the Australian Government,” Ms Macklin said.

“Australian Government services directly funded under the $3.4 billion Stronger Futures package will ensure higher levels of Aboriginal employment are generated.

“The employment targets will be designed to reflect the circumstances of the communities where the services are being delivered.”

The Minister for Indigenous Health, Warren Snowdon said that under Stronger Futures, there will also be a strong focus on using local Aboriginal organisations where possible to deliver services, including building up their capacity over time to take on additional services and deliver them more effectively.

“This builds on from what Aboriginal people told us during the Stronger Futures consultations, that they want more local jobs for Aboriginal people and they want to be able to transition Aboriginal people into community-based positions currently held by non-Indigenous people,” Mr Snowdon said.

“Wurli Wurlinjang Aboriginal Health Service is a great example of an organisation funded by the Australian Government which is providing strong local employment opportunities.

“The service currently employs 52 Indigenous people as part of its 87 member staff. This includes 17 fully qualified Aboriginal Health Workers and four trainee Aboriginal Health Workers.”

The Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth, Peter Garrett said having a job improves wellbeing and self-confidence and helps build stronger local communities and economies.

“We know how important it is for young people to have the strong example of people working in their community, so that they are encouraged to stay at school and get the best possible start in life,” Mr Garrett said.

In the Northern Territory, the housing program delivered under the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing (NPARIH) includes an Indigenous employment target of 20 per cent over the life of the program.

The program has consistently outperformed its 20 per cent employment target and has assisted local people in remote communities to improve their skills, gain accreditation and certification and provided full and part-time employment opportunities within the program in their community and region.

By using local Aboriginal organisations where possible to deliver housing works, the program has also helped build up local capacity further strengthening the skills and capabilities of the local labour market while delivering major housing works and reforms across the Northern Territory.

The $3.4 billion Stronger Futures commitment is the largest, long-term commitment by government to improve the lives of Aboriginal people living in the Northern Territory.

Senator for the Northern Territory Trish Crossin said the Aboriginal employment targets announced today builds on the jobs package already announced as part of Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory.

“This includes $19 million to create 50 extra Aboriginal ranger positions; up to 100 traineeships for people in remote communities; a job guarantee to young people completing Year 12 in Territory growth towns and services to help people develop business ideas.

“The Australian Government is determined to continue to work with Aboriginal people and communities to improve employment outcomes for Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory,” Senator Crossin said.

Creating job opportunities for more Aboriginal people at the local level and strengthening the local labour market is essential to addressing disadvantage and enabling better outcomes for Aboriginal people and communities.