Resources Minister John Bowler today highlighted the contribution made by Aboriginal people to the State’s thriving mining industry.
Guest speaker at the Second Australian Aboriginal Enterprises in Mining and Exploration Conference in Perth today, Mr Bowler said significant opportunities had emerged for indigenous people in the mining and exploration industry.
The conference aims to bring Aborigines together to network, identify and share best practices and increase their development in the business sector.
“It is widely recognised that employment and enterprise are central to achieving permanent improvement to the living standards of indigenous communities and individuals,” the Minister said.
“While creating a greater numbers of jobs, it is also important that we create the conditions in which Aboriginal people can engage fully in economic development.”
Mr Bowler said Aboriginal people were playing a major role in today’s mining industry.
“As well as employment, there are many successful Aboriginal-owned companies which have been established to take advantage of opportunities with various mining operations around Western Australia,” he said.
The Minister said building an investment and asset base, such as home ownership, was imperative for indigenous people.
“Most Australians build their wealth through work and home ownership,” he said.
“It is very important for Aboriginal people to own homes, especially in regions which are experiencing high demand for rental properties and excessive rents.
“Economically, it simply makes sense, particularly with the high growth and skill shortages, for companies to use local labour and indigenous skills to add value to projects.
“In recent years, the mining industry has done a good job in creating indigenous employment but there is still a lot more companies can do.
“We have a great opportunity to grow indigenous employment and opportunities in mining by providing sufficient skills and training so that Aboriginal people can obtain skilled, well-paid jobs and careers and in turn, create more enterprises that flourish.”
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