Wadawurrung voices heard in new jobs strategies

May 21, 2021 BY

Wadawurrung Traditional Owner's Corporation chief executive Paul Davis said last month's round table was a positive step forward.

TRADITIONAL owners have joined the table to guide new strategies set to boost training and job opportunities for Aboriginal Victorians.

Each region’s Traditional Owners, employment organisations and government representatives will come together at the 10 round table conversations taking place across the state to identify local employment opportunities, with the most recent meeting taking place in Geelong.

Wadawurrung Traditional Owner’s Corporation chief executive Paul Davis said last month’s round table was a positive step forward.

“There is a lot of development and employment opportunities in Geelong however generally speaking those opportunities don’t always come to local Aboriginal people,” he said.

“Certainly, Traditional Owners are keen to see as many local Aboriginal people get jobs and benefit from the growth.

“I think it is important for employers to understand the opportunities around increasing their Aboriginal employment and it would be fair to say people are not necessarily fully across that.”

The round table conversations aim to ensure local skills, labour and training challenges are identified and addressed in the next Victorian Aboriginal Employment and Economic Strategy.

Organiser of the round table initiative and executive director of the Aboriginal Economic Development Andrew Jackomos said the process will identify challenges and help create new approaches towards Aboriginal employment.

“I want us to do more but we are on the right path,” he said.

“Victorian Aboriginal employment is very much a partnership between the government and community to drive economic development particularly through jobs.”

With eight round tables already completed across the state, Mr Jackomos said common themes have started to emerge.

“Communities are asking for more long-term funding for employment initiatives rather than short-term,” he said.

“The government needs to invest in local Aboriginal communities to drive initiatives.”

Mr Jackomos said additional challenges were raised surrounding housing shortages, transport, ensuring culturally safe workplaces, transitions from school to employment as well as the need for greater collaboration between Aboriginal communities and employment agencies.

“To the best of my knowledge there has not been such a conversation between Aboriginal communities, government and employment agencies in many decades,” he said.

The final round table meeting will be taking place in Horsham on May 27, with PwC Indigenous Consulting (PIC) to develop the strategy based on the findings.

“The strategies will focus on economic prosperity for Aboriginal businesses, organisations and traditional owners,” Mr Jackomos said.

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