Hon. GW ELMES (Noosa—LNP) (Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs and Minister Assisting the Premier) (9.55 am): Creating the right environment for employment growth is a priority for this government. We believe that employment is generated to the greatest extent when the private sector has the right conditions to expand and diversify, thereby creating extra jobs. We do not believe that the majority of taxpayers should have to foot the bill for make work schemes which have little benefit and are a big cost to government. That is the unproductive Labor way, pandering to the demands of their union bosses.

This government is working with businesses and industry to provide the right conditions for job creation, with initiatives like reducing payroll tax and cutting red tape. At a more specific level, my portfolio has embarked on an ambitious program of signing memoranda of understanding with companies to employ migrants, refugees and Indigenous Queenslanders. We are working with employment providers and individual companies to prioritise employment opportunities. We have signed MOUs with the pastoral company Stanbroke for the employment of 50 workers initially, rising to 500, and with the waste management company JB Swift in Central Queensland for 30 jobs. I recently signed an MOU as a starting point with the ANZ Bank for 30 jobs for migrants and refugees.

These MOUs are an example of how the Newman government is delivering on our Indigenous and Cultural Diversity Action Plans with private sector partnerships to generate job opportunities and provide an economic boost for people from culturally diverse backgrounds. Queensland reaps significant economic and social benefits from the skills, knowledge and ingenuity of generations of migrants who have contributed to developing Queensland and enriching its social and cultural profile.

We will also continue to partner with the Queensland Resources Council to create employment and economic development opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the resources sector. The signing of a new MOU with the QRC is a significant milestone to ensure that all Queenslanders share in the state’s rich economic future. Through this MOU, the QRC will deliver 60 jobs over the next year to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander job seekers to gain relevant skills, meaningful employment and an opportunity to participate in economic prosperity. We are committed to equipping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with the potential to meet the skilled labour needs of the resources sector.

Last financial year an extra 389 jobs were created by the department for Indigenous Queenslanders. So far this year an additional 120 jobs have been brokered. Each of these jobs does not just benefit the person employed; the ripple effect flows on to families and communities and will ultimately improve life outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders.