Supermarket chain Coles has committed to tripling the number of Indigenous employees in its workforce, providing a welcome boost as the Queensland Government pushes to reverse historic low Indigenous employment rates.
Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs Glen Elmes made the announcement as Coles executives welcomed the company’s 300th Indigenous employee in Queensland.
“Increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment is everyone’s business, and I’m pleased that companies large and small have taken up the Government’s challenge to increase Indigenous employment,” Mr Elmes said.
“The greatest opportunities to increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment are within the private sector.
“Delivering on our election promise to grow a four pillar economy based on tourism, resources, agriculture and construction will further enhance these opportunities.
“The Queensland Government is committed to increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander economic participation through employment and business ownership.
“That’s not just a desire. We are working proactively and practically to make it happen.
“We are working hard to wean Indigenous communities off the welfare mentality which is the cornerstone of the previous Labor government’s policy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“In contrast, we have a clear goal – greater economic independence for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders, which was detailed in the recently released Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Economic Participation Framework.
“Economic independence is about improving the employment and business opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“One of the best ways for people to improve their economic circumstances is to secure long-term, meaningful employment.”
Mr Elmes said the retail and hospitality industries provide immense opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, and he had already met with a number of employers in the retail industry to identify employment opportunities