Eric Ripper

Eric Ripper

Deputy Premier; Treasurer; Minister for State Development

    Indigenous Employment Forum begins today.

    30/11/2007 11:00 AM

    A forum designed to find ways of engaging more indigenous Western Australians in employment begins in Perth today.

    The Indigenous Employment Forum, announced by Premier Alan Carpenter in August, has attracted more than 170 people including Don Voelte from Woodside, Ian Ashby from BHP, Andrew Forrest from Fortescue Metals Group and Richard Goyder from Wesfarmers.

    Big, medium and small employers from right across the economic spectrum, along with trainers, educators and employment agencies will also be represented.

    Deputy Premier Eric Ripper said the key to addressing long-term disadvantage in indigenous communities was employment and engagement with the real economy.

    “We want the forum to lead to real employment outcomes for as many people as we can provide for, either immediately or by way of opportunities which we can develop and follow up,” Mr Ripper said.

    “At a time when we have a powering economy and virtually full employment in WA, we have an unacceptably large number of indigenous Western Australians who remain unemployed.

    “The official figure is 14.3 per cent, but in some locations, I’m sure the real number is much higher than that.

    “If there was ever a time we could do something about it, it is now.”

    In recognition of the need for appropriate support and job readiness services, the Carpenter Government has recently committed almost $10million for the Indigenous Trade Training Package, which includes funding for job and training readiness support, mentoring and cross-cultural training in the workplace.

    A total of $2million has also been committed for the provision of four mobile indigenous trades training units to service indigenous communities in the Kimberley, Pilbara, Central West and Goldfields regions.

    An additional $3million will be spent on upgrading a range of TAFEWA infrastructure and equipment. This includes $2.4million to improve facilities at the Pilbara TAFE Karratha campus and for new buildings at the Broome and Kununurra campuses.

    The forum is due to conclude about 1.30pm.

    Deputy Premier's office - 9222 8788