$6.9m strategy to deliver Indigenous agricultural and tourism jobs

30 Apr 2015

More than 300 Indigenous agricultural and tourism jobs will be delivered throughout regional and remote Australia in 2015 by the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC) in a joint employment strategy announced today.

The jobs strategy is a co-investment by the ILC through its Our Land Our Jobs strategy at a cost of $3.74m and the Australian Government through its Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) at a cost of $3.19m.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion said one of the Abbott Government’s key commitments through its IAS is to support Indigenous people to gain employment.

“The Australian Government recognises that this is a huge challenge and the package being announced today is one part of a whole host of approaches that will be needed to assist large numbers of Indigenous people in remote areas to take up employment opportunities in the pastoral, tourism and other sectors.

“As a result, the Government has undertaken to support the ILC’s Our Land Our Jobs strategy with appropriate pre-employment training initiatives through the $6.9m IAS co-funding package announced today,” Minister Scullion said.

The 300 jobs will be delivered nationally through ILC subsidiary companies, Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia (Voyages) and National Indigenous Pastoral Enterprises Pty Ltd (NIPE) and at the ILC-operated Merriman Indigenous Shearing School in Western NSW.

Voyages and NIPE will also invest funding to provide staff and to run purpose-built residential training facilities to support accredited on-the-job learning, mentoring and engagement with other mainstream agricultural and tourism employers.

ILC Chairperson Dr Dawn Casey said the strategy supports new Indigenous employees to be work ready so they can benefit from certificate-based qualifications in the agricultural and tourism sectors. 

“These skills mean they can continue working at either of the ILC subsidiary companies or with other industry employers,” Dr Casey said.

“The ILC’s investment of $3.74m in funding will help provide life and work-skills training, individual capacity development, paid on-the-job work while learning, mentoring and an offer of an on-going job opportunity on completion of training.

“NIPE and Voyages provide on-site resources, including personnel, residential accommodation and operational equipment on a scale that is largely not available through other mainstream tourism and agricultural employers in rural and remote Australia. 

“This is why the ILC stands out as one of the largest employers of Indigenous people in these sectors in remote Australia employing 400 plus Indigenous Australians.

NIPE operates Australia’s 15th largest cattle herd across 12 pastoral leases, mainly in Northern Australia, many in direct partnership with Traditional Owners. The NIPE businesses currently employ 137 Indigenous workers representing approximately 75% of its total agricultural workforce.

With NIPE also operating an abattoir in Arnhem Land and a live cattle export depot in the East Kimberley and a fine Merino wool farm in Tasmania, jobs will be located across Australia from Broome to Bruny Island.  Fifty-five Indigenous employees will receive pre-vocational training, literacy and numeracy as well as job specific training like safely operating farm equipment or mustering. 

Voyages operates a portfolio of award-winning Indigenous tourism businesses at Ayers Rock Resort in the Northern Territory, Home Valley Station in the East Kimberley in Western Australia and Mossman Gorge Centre eco-tourism business north of Cairns. Voyages businesses currently employ 298 Indigenous employees representing approximately 33% of its total tourism workforce. Voyages also operates residential, enterprise-based employment and training facilities at all sites to support employees gain industry recognised qualifications.

Voyages will offer 240 jobs in 2015 including 120 with Industry recognised accredited traineeships in a variety of tourism and hospitality jobs including front and back of house services, technical services, landscaping, administration, corporate services and supervisory and management positions.

Voyages is working to develop a highly skilled Indigenous workforce and has set a target of 50% Indigenous employment at Ayers Rock Resort by 2018. When the ILC purchased the resort in 2011 less than 1% of the workforce was Indigenous. Now Indigenous employees represent 32% of workforce.  Twenty-one Anangu employees from local Indigenous communities are currently employed at the Resort and work programs for local Indigenous communities are in place to increase these numbers. At Mossman Gorge Centre Indigenous employees represent 90% of the workforce.

The Merriman Indigenous Shearing School at Brewarrina will provide 30 Indigenous employees with qualifications to work across the wool industry in Australia which has experienced a shortage of skilled workers in recent years.  Merriman has an impressive track record of turning out quality, hard-working Indigenous shearers who are keenly sought after by wool farmers and shearing contractors to fill well-paid ongoing jobs.

In addition to ongoing jobs, both NIPE and Voyages have committed to provide 90 work experience opportunities for young Indigenous people, such as youth from the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunyjatjara (APY) Lands, to get a first-hand taste of the work environment.
With a commitment beyond entry level jobs, NIPE and Voyages have agreed some jobs will be managerial or cadet supervisor positions as part of an Indigenous career development strategy.

ILC and NIPE media enquiries to: Eric Roberts 0417818482

Voyages employment enquiries to: 02 9391 8251.  
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