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20 Indigenous Australians get building skills in the Torres Strait

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SENATOR THE HON MARK ARBIB Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development Minister for Sport Minister for Social Housing and Homelessness

SENATOR JAN MCLUCAS Senator for Queensland


4 October 2011


Indigenous Australians on Mer Island in the Torres Strait are benefiting from an employment project designed to skill them for jobs with a new school precinct building program.

Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development Mark Arbib said 20 jobseekers would undertake a Certificate II in Work Practices with job opportunities in construction and related industries.

“Mer Island has received $30 million from the State Government to build a new school precinct. The Gillard Government is ensuring that the local Indigenous people have the skills needed to fill the jobs this project will create,” Senator Arbib said.

“In addition to the school building project, the participants will be able to take up jobs on other Australian Government projects, such as the roll-out of the National Partnership on Remote Indigenous Housing.”

Senator McLucas said more than $149,000 from the Australian Government’s Indigenous Employment Program had been provided for this project.

“The Mer Island Construction program is a joint venture between the Gillard Government, the Queensland Government and ITEC Employment,” Senator McLucas said.

“Participants will benefit from intensive mentoring support while doing their training, in their work placements, after their study and then for the first six months of their employment.”

“This local project is equipping local Indigenous people with the skills, confidence and knowledge to gain a job and contribute to their communities.”

“This is a great local partnership that is creating pathways to real jobs, which is a fundamental part of closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.”

Senator Arbib said Federal Treasury has estimated that 500,000 jobs would be created over the next two years and it was critical that Indigenous Australians had the support and training they needed to take up employment opportunities.

“Indigenous employment is not a short-term issue. Over the next four years the Australian Government has committed almost $650 million to the Indigenous

Employment Program and $50 million to the Indigenous Youth Careers Pathway Program,” Senator Arbib said.

“This is part of the Australian Government’s goal to help Indigenous students find a job or move into further study and create more than 100,000 jobs for Indigenous Australians by 2018.”

Media contact: Sean Sammon (Arbib) 0417 137 419 / 02 9364 2600 Belinda Featherstone (McLucas) 0408 743 457 / 07 4031 6009

DEEWR Media: Non-media enquiries: 1300 363 079