Image: Emma Dolzadelli via Minderoo Foundation.
Minderoo Foundation’s, Generation One is calling for a national plan for Indigenous employment, following the release of the government’s $424 million Closing the Gap Implementation Plan.
While the Indigenous employment network has welcomed the renewed plan which includes a promise to boost Indigenous representation in the Australian workforce with a focus on senior management positions, Indigenous Employment manager Caitlin Leslie says current measures to create more employment opportunities for First Nations people are still falling short.
According to the latest Census Data, a record number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are being employed with a 42.6 per cent increase in 2021 from 2016.
However, the Australian Bureau of Statistics Census data also revealed more than 36,000 Indigenous people are still looking for work.
Leslie, a proud Noongar woman, says job creation was critical to meeting Closing the Gap targets, as First Nations people 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.”