Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

250 New Indigenous Jobs in Cape York

Joint Media Release with:

  • Brendan O'Connor MP, Minister for Employment Participation

Western Cape Indigenous communities are set to share the economic benefits of the flourishing mining activity in the region with the creation of 250 new Indigenous jobs by 2012.

The jobs are central to a regional partnership agreement involving the mining industry signed in Weipa today.

The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, said the Western Cape Regional Partnership Heads of Agreement is the culmination of two years’ collaboration involving the Australian and Queensland Governments, Rio Tinto Alcan and the Western Cape Chamber of Commerce.

“The Western Cape Communities Trust and the Aboriginal Shire Councils of Aurukun, Napranum and Mapoon have also played an important role in setting the targets for the agreement,” Ms Macklin said.

“Each year for the next five years 50 local jobs will be filled by Indigenous Australians.”

Under the new Western Cape agreement, Rio Tinto Alcan will employ at least 25 local Indigenous people in its operation each year.

This is in addition to the company’s normal Indigenous trainee and employee intake.

The other 25 Indigenous jobs will be offered by Chamber of Commerce members and other local businesses.

The Australian Government has committed over $2 million in funding for various projects under the agreement to date.

The Minister for Employment Participation, Brendan O’Connor, said it was an excellent example of how all levels of government and industry can work together to address disadvantage in remote Indigenous communities.

“Built into the agreement are four key objectives to boost economic development and Indigenous participation in the workforce,” Mr O’Connor said.

“This includes the development of a regional public transport service, the implementation of work-readiness training programs across the three Indigenous communities, support for the development of Indigenous enterprises and programs for Indigenous youth in education, training and employment.

“Job opportunities, skills development and training are central to the Government’s commitment to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.”

The Western Cape signing is the first agreement of this kind outside Western Australia and the fourth overall, following East Kimberley and the Pilbara communities of Port Hedland and Ashburton/Roebourne.

Rio Tinto Alcan is the sole bauxite producer in the region however the agreement has been structured to include new mines in the future, such as CHALCO Australia and Cape Alumina as they start operations near Aurukun and Mapoon respectively.