Premier Alan Carpenter today welcomed a partnership between the State Government and the mining sector to create jobs for indigenous people through improving their driving skills.
Mr Carpenter announced the first stage of the partnership agreement today at Parliament House when Ljiljanna Ravlich, the Minister responsible for driver licensing, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Fortescue Metals Group CEO Andrew Forrest.
“This partnership will see the Licensing Business Unit (LBU) support the company to enable its indigenous trainees to get a driver’s licence ‘in-house’,” the Premier said.
“The LBU will train and accredit FMG’s staff to provide all aspects of driver training and assessment.”
Mr Carpenter said the initiative was developed in response to issues raised at the Indigenous Jobs Forum and the Indigenous Licensing and Fine Default Report, known as the Wyatt Report, which identified motor vehicle licences as a key impediment to indigenous people gaining paid employment.
“A driver’s licence is a prerequisite for employment in the resource and energy sectors in Western Australia,” he said.
“These sectors need workers and want to employ local indigenous people.
“This initiative provides a strategy to help break the cycle of welfare dependence, poverty, unpaid fines and imprisonment.
“By working together with FMG this model will help indigenous Western Australians acquire their driver’s licence and provide a clear pathway to employment.”
Mr Forrest welcomed the Government’s involvement, saying the licensing program would be available to people enrolled in FMG’s Vocational Training and Education (VTEC) program which guarantees graduates employment in the mining industry.
“Having a driver’s licence is one of the fundamental requirements to get a job in the mining industry,” Mr Forrest said.
“Having the Government recognise that there are unique circumstances preventing many indigenous people access to the training required to obtain a licence is a major step forward. The Government will greatly assist these people in progressing their lives and advancing with a sense of purpose and contribution.”
Ms Ravlich said the partnership would enable trainees to learn to drive in a supportive environment with their peers.
“This will put indigenous Western Australians on the road to an unprecedented era of economic engagement that takes advantage of our strong economic conditions and I believe it is a model that can effect lasting change,” she said.
“I have no doubt it will be rapidly adopted across the resources and energy sector and has the capacity to engage thousands of indigenous Western Australians in well-paid and secure employment in supportive environments.”
Ms Ravlich said the response from the mining sector had been extremely positive and the model could be expanded to encompass much wider applications outside of mining.
Premier’s office- 9222 9475 Minister’s office - 9213 6800