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Monday, 1 September 2014
Page: 9258

Mr THISTLETHWAITE (Kingsford Smith) (10:42): I wish to congratulate Souths Cares, the charity arm of the mighty South Sydney Rabbitohs, on the recent launch of their Indigenous Employment Program, Ngalya Banga. The South Sydney Rabbitohs charity arm Souths Cares has a proud history of helping those in need in my electorate of Kingsford Smith and the broader South Sydney region. On 8 August this year, I was fortunate to attend the launch of their Indigenous Employment Program Ngalya Banga, which means 'working together' in local Gadigal language. It was launched at the NRL headquarters in Moore Park and promises to continue wonderful work, with the aim of providing employment opportunities for the local Indigenous community.

As we all know, there is still a long way for Australia to go in closing the gap of disadvantage between Australians and our Indigenous brothers and sisters. In terms of employment, unfortunately in Australia in August 2011 it was reported that just 56 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of working age were participating in the labour force, and one in six of those people was under-employed. This program represents Souths Cares doing its bit to close the gap on Indigenous employment. With the support of experienced Souths Cares Indigenous mentors, as well as the Rabbitohs corporate family and local employers, Ngalya Banga seeks to guide Indigenous job seekers through the journey of securing, fulfilling and rewarding long-term employment.

With a primary goal to arm job seekers with the necessary skills to attain gratifying long-term employment, the program is also about spreading the word to other potential employers who stand to benefit from employing keen and capable Indigenous job seekers, as well as rebates, benefits and support that the new program can offer to those involved.

There are currently 48 participants in the scheme, working with 11 local employers and achieving great results. At the launch, Kellie Geddes, a former student of Matraville High School, spoke of the confidence she has gained having gone through this particular employment program. Upon its completion, the program will have provided employment for 60 Indigenous job seekers from our local area, with 30 general employment places—10, importantly, apprenticeships and 20 traineeship positions—available.

I wish to commend Souths Cares on this wonderful program that they have recently launched but also the other charity work that they do, particularly with local schools in transition-to-work programs, the importance of remaining at school and healthy lifestyle programs, and I thank them for their continued advocacy for the Indigenous community. (Time expired)