NSW Government missing in action on Aboriginal jobs

14 February 2018

The NSW Aboriginal Land Council today expressed its disappointment over the Berejiklian Government's failure to back a critical jobs and business initiative for Aboriginal people.

NSWALC Chair Roy Ah-See said the Land Rights movement was struggling to understand why the NSW Government had rejected its invitation to be a partner in the Indigenous Business Hub announced by the Prime Minister as part of efforts to Close the Gap.

"The Indigenous Business Hub in Western Sydney is a significant opportunity for the Land Rights movement to deepen its participation in the economic life of this State.

"While the Turnbull Government has shown great confidence in our movement to help deliver this massive job generation project, the Berejiklian Government is missing in action.

"The NSW Government's rebuff of our offer is puzzling given the marginal improvements being made in the employment of Aboriginal people in New South Wales.

"Census data shows that these marginal improvements have been largely due to part-time employment with only 0.6 percent of jobs being full-time.

"Part-time work does not help lift Aboriginal people out of poverty," he said.

Cr Ah-See said the NSW Aboriginal Land Council would provide the leadership at the State level to drive economic development and jobs for Aboriginal people in Western Sydney.

"Western Sydney is projected to grow by more than 1 million people over the next 20 years so the potential for Aboriginal businesses and job seekers to benefit from this activity is massive.

"Yet some 55 percent of the Aboriginal population in Greater Western Sydney is aged under 25 years and staring down the barrel of 24 percent unemployment - it is critical that Aboriginal people are given a fair share of the jobs market."

Cr Ah-See said the Indigenous Business Hub will be a State-wide asset for Local Aboriginal Land Councils, its members and Aboriginal people.

"Under our new Strategic Plan, the NSW Aboriginal Land Council has committed itself whole-heartedly to an ambitious program of economic development geared at generating jobs and training for Aboriginal people.

"The best way to close the gap in health, education and other indicators is through self-determination and economic independence.

"If the Berejiklian Government is serious about closing the gap on disadvantage in this State, it needs to work with us to give Aboriginal people a fair share of Australia's largest economy."

Media contact: Andrew Williams 0429 585 291