A major regional services reform initiative to boost employment and economic opportunities for Aboriginal people in regional Western Australia is expected to generate hundreds of jobs over time.
The Aboriginal Regional Employment Package will change the way the public sector recruits staff, awards contracts and buys goods and services by introducing mandatory regional targets.
Minister for Regional Development Terry Redman announced the package at the Indigenous Business, Enterprise and Corporations Conference (IBECC) today.
“Jobs and business opportunities are big drivers of family and community wellbeing,” the Minister said. “They provide income, purpose and self-worth and enable families to have more life choices.
“Yet many Aboriginal people are not seeing these benefits because they are far less likely to be employed than non-Aboriginal people, especially in regional and remote areas.
“The public sector can help turn this around. It is a major employer, capital investor, asset manager and purchaser of goods and services in regional WA.
“The sector has a responsibility to leverage these roles to create local opportunities for Aboriginal people to move from welfare dependency to employment.”
The Aboriginal Regional Employment Package is a major initiative of regional services reform, and one of 10 priority actions to improve the lives of Aboriginal people in regional and remote WA.
It requires public sector agencies to help boost Aboriginal employment in the regions via recruitment, contracting and procurement.
- sets mandatory regional targets for Aboriginal employment in the public sector
- requires government agencies to ensure contractors take on local Aboriginal staff when delivering regional contracts, such as housing construction
- mandates government agencies to purchase more goods and services from Aboriginal-owned businesses in the regions.
The State Government will also work with Aboriginal organisations and government partners to better coordinate efforts to train and place Aboriginal people without work.
Education and economic opportunities have emerged as major themes of the Regional Services Reform Unit’s consultation with WA’s 274 remote Aboriginal communities.
State reform leader Grahame Searle said the Aboriginal Regional Employment Package would be delivered without increasing staff numbers in the public sector, and by adjusting existing policies for contracting and procurement.
He said the strategies in the package would make a big difference to the lives of Aboriginal people, but they also required individuals and families to seek and take up opportunities.
Minister Terry Redman announces the Aboriginal Regional Employment Package at IBECC.