Generation One13 Feb 2023

Targeted response needed to close the gap on Indigenous employment

Current measures to create more employment opportunities for Indigenous Australians are still falling short, according to Minderoo Foundation’s Generation One initiative.

Photo Credit: Thurtell.

Minderoo Foundation welcomes today’s announcement that the Government has committed to a $424 million Closing the Gap Implementation Plan. The plan includes a promise to boost Indigenous representation in the Australian public service, specifically in senior executive roles.

The lack of Indigenous Australians in senior management positions was a key finding of Minderoo Foundation’s 2022 Woort Koorliny Australian Indigenous Employment Index. However, more targeted, job-creating policies are still needed across the entire Australian workforce.

Generation One is calling for a national plan for Indigenous employment which includes more regular reporting of data. Despite employment targets under the Closing the Gap Agreement being due for completion in 2031, the next time Australia will receive an update on Indigenous employment is the next Census.

Generation One’s Indigenous Employment Manager Caitlin Leslie said job creation was critical to meeting Closing the Gap targets, as Indigenous Australians remain disproportionately locked out of today’s economic opportunities and workforce.

“We need to rethink the role Indigenous Australians play in our modern workplaces,” Ms Leslie said.

“This starts with governments and employers committing to authentic, tailored strategies with data-driven targets, and a broader definition of Indigenous employment success that includes retention, safety, progression, and partnerships.

“We can’t have a fair and equitable workforce in Australia without the full employment of First Nations people.”

Minderoo Foundation Head of Indigenous Business Les Delaforce said there must be a renewed focus on supporting Indigenous businesses.

“We know Indigenous businesses are up to 100 times more likely to employ Indigenous Australians,” Mr Delaforce said.

“Backing these businesses will have untold benefits, both socially and economically, and promote a significant increase of First Nations people in meaningful work.

“It is critical governments and the broader business community focus on making this happen – one off measures just won’t cut it anymore.”

Minderoo Foundation through its Thrive by Five initiative is also supporting calls made by the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC), for the Federal Government to reinstate funding for Indigenous-led child and family centres across Australia.

This lack of early learning and care is exacerbated in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities which is contributing to poorer outcomes for children.

Minderoo Foundation
by Minderoo Foundation

Established by Andrew and Nicola Forrest in 2001, we are a modern philanthropic organisation seeking to break down barriers, innovate and drive positive, lasting change. Minderoo Foundation is proudly Australian, with key initiatives spanning from ocean research and ending slavery, to collaboration in cancer and community projects.

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