Parliamentary Secretary Tudge

Parliamentary Secretary Tudge: Policies must change to close employment gap


New figures released today by the Coalition Government reveal Australia’s Indigenous employment gap has widened over the last 5 years.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, Alan Tudge, said that new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows a fall in Australia’s Indigenous employment rate, despite a continuing increase in the non-indigenous rate.

“In 2008, the then government promised to halve the Indigenous employment gap within a decade, but we are now past the halfway mark and the gap has widened by 2.8 per cent,” he said.

“This is despite a positive trend in indigenous employment spanning over fifteen years prior to 2008.

“Almost half of all working age Indigenous Australians receive welfare as their main source of income.

“Our objective is to reverse the reliance on passive welfare and support more Indigenous Australians into work.”

Despite an increase in the actual number of Indigenous people working since 2008, jobs growth has not kept up with the indigenous population increase. If this trend continues, the proportion of Indigenous people employed will continue to fall.

Only 46 per cent of the Indigenous working age population are in jobs today.

“Employment is the motor of reconciliation. People who are employed tend to have better health, housing and general well-being. We must lift the indigenous employment rate to address our nation’s greatest social inequity.”

The Coalition Government has already started a number of reforms consistent with our election commitment to end the jobs disparity, including:

  • Immediate action to address problems with the former government’s new job services programme for remote Australia (RJCP);
  • Investing $45 million for new VTECs; and
  • Establishing the Indigenous Jobs and Training Review led by Andrew Forrest

The Forrest Review has already received more than 350 submissions, conducted forums across the country attended by over 1,600 people; and had meetings with over 40 of Australia’s business and employment leaders and other experts.

Mr Forrest will report to the Government in April.



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