Agreement to break Aboriginal unemployment cycle

Agreement to break Aboriginal unemployment cycle

25 August, 2009

The New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) was proud to be a part of a unique NSW Regional Partnership Agreement  -launched in Port Macquarie today - designed to break the unemployment cycle for thousands of Aboriginal people.

Announcing this today, NSWALC's Chairperson, Bev Manton, said the Many Rivers Regional Partnership Agreement was a genuine partnership of Governments - State and Federal - NSWALC, Local Aboriginal Land Councils and private enterprise.

"It is unique, it is different.

"It is thinking outside of the square in ways that hopefully will create long-term employment opportunities for Aboriginal people".

Ms Manton said that the Many Rivers Region had the third largest Aboriginal population in Australia - around 40,000 - but with Aboriginal unemployment  around 14 percent, it was imperative that the initiative worked.

"Everyone involved is genuinely behind this initiative," Chairperson Manton said.

Initial set-up costs involved support from both the Federal and NSW Governments with a planned, stand alone Aboriginal  umbrella enterprise or business to be created to tender for widespread employment contracts.

"There will be an initial emphasis on employment opportunities for Aboriginal Green Teams throughout this large Region which covers communities as far afield as Gosford at one end of the Region to the Tweed at the other with many locations in between."

These included Newcastle, Cessnock, Singleton, Maitland, Greater Taree, Kempsey, Nambucca, Coffs Harbour,  Grafton, Maclean, Casino, Ballina, Lismore and Byron Bay.

"It is not  the first regional partnership agreement of its type in Australia," Ms Manton added. "but most certainly it takes in one of the largest Aboriginal populations.

"As it progresses it will be looking for niche market opportunities in land management, Aboriginal arts and cultural enterprise, cultural tourism, elite sport, aged care, housing and construction and Government jobs.

"It is a working partnership.

"NSWALC is but one of the partners.

"At best it has the potential to make a huge difference to the lives of thousands of Aboriginal people in the Region.

"If successful it will be an enormous achievement, one no doubt Governments would say was a genuine Closing-the-Gap initiative.

"Our LALCs and NSWALC are fully supportive of this partnership," Chairperson Manton said.

 Further information:  Peter Windsor  0400 554 603