House of Representatives Committees

House Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs

Committee activities (inquiries and reports)

Inquiry into Indigenous employment

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June 2007

Canberra

© Commonwealth of Australia 2007

ISBN 978-0-642-78958-7 (Printed Version)

ISBN 978-0-642-78959-4 (HTML Version)

Contents

Foreword
Membership of the Committee
Terms of reference
List of abbreviations
Recommendations
Chapter 1 Introduction
Chapter 2 The positives
Chapter 3 Economic independence
Chapter 4 Leading by example
Chapter 5 Education and training
Chapter 6 The impediments
Chapter 7 Role of government
Minority Report
Appendix A - Submissions
Appendix B - Public Hearings
Appendix C - Exhibits

Foreword

The Positives

The Aboriginal face on the Australian $50 note is David Unaipon, author, inventor and sometimes thought of as "Australia's Leonardo". As a remarkable example of the capacity of Indigenous people, I am sure that there are many David Unaipons across Australia and I dedicate this foreword to his memory and the future creativity of every Indigenous Australian.

In discussing our request to the Minister of the need for a positive approach to Indigenous matters, employment was an area where progress could be demonstrated. At a time of strong economic performance at the national level and with workforce shortages a growing reality, the opportunities for further development of Indigenous employment appeared to be significant.
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Over the past two years we were fortunate to share the views and better understand the outcomes for many individuals, companies and the wider community in this vital human activity.

The central role of work and the workplace in most Australian's lives is something that we perhaps take for granted - but the lessons of the past two years remind all of us that the variation in workforce participation by Indigenous people is very much a result of a complex set of factors which some achieve with significant success and others have a more limited result.

The above is very much a two way street with some employers leading the way with many employees open to opportunities and both able to achieve great results.

The recurring theme of many people who presented before the Committee was the overwhelming impact of welfare policies as a deterrent to sustainable employment. The need for Government policies to strike a better balance between the incentives for work and the incentives to be distracted by welfare is vital.

Our inquiry attempted to seek out the committed employers and employees and understand their views and what motivated them to achieve and these experiences are documented from that perspective. Their views are the basis of current progress and I thank them for their willingness to share with the Parliament their experiences in the hope that policy makers will better understand the value that employers and employees found for their general and economic well-being.

I acknowledge and thank my fellow Committee Members, all staff for their patience and tolerance and all members of the Australian community who participated in our inquiry to offer not only a better employment outcome for more Australians but to further unlock the economic future for Indigenous people.

Mr Barry Wakelin MP
Chairman

Membership of the Committee

Chairman

Mr Barry Wakelin MP

Deputy Chair

The Hon Dr Carmen Lawrence MP

Members

Ms Annette Ellis MP

 

Mr Peter Garrett MP

 

Mr Andrew Laming MP (from 28 February 2006)

 

Mr Andrew Robb MP (until 28 February 2006)

 

The Hon Peter Slipper MP

 

The Hon Warren Snowdon MP

 

Dr Andrew Southcott MP

 

The Hon Wilson Tuckey MP

 

The Hon Danna Vale MP

Committee Secretariat

Secretary

Ms Joanne Towner

Inquiry Secretary

Ms Cheryl Scarlett

Research Officers

Ms Kate Tubridy (8/9/2005 - 16/5/2006)

 

Ms Samantha Mannette (from 8/9/2005 to 26/5/2006)

 

Ms Zoe Smith (from 8/8/2006 to 11/11/2006)

  Ms Kylie Weston-Scheuber (from 28/11/2005 to 24/2/2006)
Administrative Officers Ms Kate Tremble (from 27/6/2005 to 15/10/2006)
  Ms Jazmine De Roza (from 1/2/2005 to 6/11/2006)
  Ms Melita Caulfield (from 19/10/2006)
  Ms Isabella Johnston (from 27/11/2006 to 20/5/2007)

Terms of Reference

That the Committee inquire into positive factors and examples amongst Indigenous communities and individuals, which have improved employment outcomes in both the public and private sectors; and

  1. recommend to the government ways this can inform future policy development; and

  2. assess what significant factors have contributed to those positive outcomes identified, including what contribution practical reconciliation has made.



List of abbreviations

ABS

Australian Bureau of Statistics

ACCI

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

AEC

Aboriginal Education Council

AES

Aboriginal Employment Strategy

AFL

Australian Football League

ALPA

Arnhemland Progress Association

ALTA-1

Altering Lives One at a Time Program

ANZ

Australian and New Zealand Banking Group

APS

Australian Public Service

AQF

Australian Qualifications Framework

BAC

Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation

BCC

Brisbane City Council

BUC

Breaking the Unemployment Cycle

CAAMA

Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association

CAEPR

Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research

CDEP

Community Development and Employment Projects

CDRHC

Cairns and District Regional Housing Corporation

CEO

Chief Executive Officer

COAG

Council of Australian Governments

DEST

Department of Education, Science and Training

DEWR

Department of Employment and Workplace Relations

DFAT

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

FaCS

Department of Family and Community Services

HECS

Higher Education Contribution Scheme

HOP

Home Ownership Program

IBA

Indigenous Business Australia

ICC

Indigenous Coordination Centre

IEC

Indigenous Employment Centre

IEP

Indigenous Enterprise Partnerships

IHANT

Indigenous Housing Authority Northern Territory

ILC

Indigenous Land Corporation

ILUA

Indigenous Land Use Agreement

IPP

Indigenous Pastoral Program

JYP

Jobs for Young People

KBN

Koori Business Network

LDC

Larrakia Development Corporation

MATES

Mentoring Aboriginal Training and Employment Scheme

MCA

Minerals Council of Australia

MOU

Memoranda of Understanding

NATSISS

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey

NGO

Non-government organisation

NLC

Northern Land Council

NORFORCE

North West Mobile Force

NTEU

National Tertiary Education Union

NTPS

Northern Territory Public Service

OAM

Order of Australia

OIPC

Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination

PM&C

Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet

RTO

Registered Training Organisation

SACOME

South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy

SRA

Shared Responsibility Agreement

STEP

Structured Training and Employment Programme

TAFE

Technical and Further Education

TIC

Tasmanian Investment Corporation

VET

Vocational Education and Training

WELL

Workplace English Language and Literacy Program

YES

Youth Employment Scheme

List of recommendations

Construction and maintenance programs

Recommendation 1

The Committee recommends that the Minister propose that the corporate governance procedures and the sound business principles under which the current Board of the Cairns and District Regional Housing Corporation are operating (noting the average of 70 per cent local Indigenous labour component in their maintenance and building programs) be considered as a model practice for other Indigenous housing and tenancy corporations (paragraph 3.13).

Recommendation 2

The Committee recommends that all Federal Government construction contracts in regional areas give due recognition to aspirational imperatives for Indigenous employment outcomes (paragraph 3.22).

Tender requirements

Recommendation 3

The Committee recommends that the Federal Government amend government service delivery tender requirements and contracting processes to recognise and encourage Indigenous involvement (paragraph 3.23).

Indigenous employment by small businesses

Recommendation 4

The Committee recommends that the Federal Government ensure that small businesses employing Indigenous people receive comparable support to that received by the large business sector (paragraph 3.63).

Micro-finance

Recommendation 5

The Committee recommends that the relevant Government departments that administer programs providing micro-finance and small business assistance to Indigenous people, actively promote such programs and facilitate better access to that support (paragraph 3.85)

Funding for mentors

Recommendation 6

The Committee recommends that the Federal Government provide adequate resources for mentoring in addition to the funding provided for training and employment of Indigenous Australians (paragraph 4.39).

Education

Recommendation 7

The Committee recommends that given the importance of education to future employment possibilities, the Government consider requests from Indigenous communities in relation to their preferred options for stronger incentives to encourage school attendance (paragraph 5.32).

Recommendation 8

The Committee recommends that the Federal Government evaluate and fund a range of options to improve educational outcomes including but not limited to, Indigenous teaching aides, tutors and individualised learning plans (paragraph 5.41).

National Indigenous Cadet Scheme

Recommendation 9

The Committee recommends that the Government:

Work experience

Recommendation 10

The Committee recommends that the Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination develop a model which allows Indigenous employees of non-government organisations to experience work within the public sector (paragraph 5.93).

Public servants in regional and remote areas

Recommendation 11

The Committee recommends that the terms and conditions offered to all Government employees in communities not disadvantage local employees compared to those recruited from elsewhere (paragraph 6.24).

Private sector Indigenous employment

Recommendation 12

The Committee recommends that the best practice models within industries like the mining industry be understood, promoted and encouraged by Government as one of the best models to achieve greater Indigenous participation in the workforce (paragraph 7.128).

Recommendation 13

The Committee recommends that the Government promote the Memorandum of Understanding of the Minerals Council of Australia and the Indigenous Land Corporation models as best practice which could be adopted by other sectors (paragraph 7.130).

Recommendation 14

The Committee recommends that the Government disseminate innovative strategies with respect to Indigenous employment within and between public and private sectors and the implementation of best practice within the public service where appropriate (paragraph 7.131).

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