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Mining Indigenous talent

Mining Indigenous talent as Camooweal project graduates

Twenty-six unemployed Indigenous people will graduate tomorrow from a Camooweal employment project which is helping them find work in mining and civil construction.

Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations John Mickel and Member for Mount Isa Betty Kiernan said the group have completed 13-week paid work placements with the Dugalunji Aboriginal Corporation and their sister organisation Myuma thanks to Queensland Government funding.

"The Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative has been supporting the Dugalunji Civil Construction and Mining Skills Prevocational Training Program for a number of years now but this is an exciting time for the project," Mr Mickel said.

"This year the initiative is providing a total grant of $858,360 so more people can gain assistance through this project and a second intake of participants will start in August.

"Attracting suitable workers to remote mines and civil construction projects in North-West Queens land is a problem but this project has created an excellent pathway so Indigenous people can help meet this demand.

"Already 22 of these participants have job offers with more interviews and opportunities coming up for the remaining four."

Member for Mount Isa Betty Kiernan said the results from this intake show Indigenous people can help tackle labour shortages in the area and across the state.

"This group includes Indigenous people from Palm Island, Yarrabah, Aurukun, Cooktown and Mossman amongst others and they are now ready to work in the mining and civil construction industries," Mrs Kiernan said.

"Queensland has a low unemployment rate of 3.6 per cent but Indigenous people are still much more likely to be out of the workforce.

"This project provides an example of how the Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative can support community organisations and employers to close the gap."

Myuma Projects Coordinator Sally Sheldon said the participants have worked on road upgrades and maintenance, refurbishments of infrastructure within Camooweal township and at a quarry.

"They've also helped build a new gym facility at the Dugalunji Camp in Camooweal, to house fitness equipment for participants acquired through a Gambling Community Benefits Fund grant," Ms Sheldon said.

"They've done great work and many of them had to come a long way just to join the project. It's great to see them now getting the rewards for their efforts.

"I'd also like to thank the many companies and agencies that are supporting this project because it shows there is a broad commitment to encouraging more employment opportunities for Indigenous people."

The project has received support from the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, Structured Training and Employment Project - Employment and Related Services brokers Isa Skills and Coolgaree Aboriginal Corporation, local Job Net work agencies, the Department of Main Roads, Rio Tinto Australia, Cairns Earthmoving Company, Barrick Gold, Xstrata Copper and Zinc, Incitec Pivot, Mount Isa City Council, CDE Capital, BHP Billiton, the Mining Industry Skills Centre, Construction Skills Queensland and the Mount Isa Institute of TAFE.

The graduation will take place at the Dugalunji Camp, Barkley Highway, at 3:00pm on Friday June 6 2008.

During 2007/08 the Queensland Government will invest $80 million in the Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative to give an estimated 17,000 long-term unemployed and underemployed people job related assistance and skills training to maximise labour force participation and increase Queensland's prosperity.

Twelve months after receiving assistance 69 per cent of participants are in employment or further training.

Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative is part of the State Government's $1 billion Queensland Skills Plan which aims to provide i ndividuals and industry with the skills and workforce for the 21st Century.

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