Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs - Ministerial Statement

Hon. GW ELMES (Noosa—LNP) (Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs and Minister Assisting the Premier) (9.56 am): I want to see a better life outcome and lifestyle for both Australia’s oldest inhabitants and our very newest ones. The election of the Abbott government presents a great opportunity to progress Indigenous issues in Queensland, because our two governments share a belief that the best way to address historic disadvantage is through economic development. Employment, sustainable enterprise and land tenure reform to provide improved options for home ownership are essential to achieve better life outcomes for Indigenous Queenslanders. Those priorities are at the centre of an economic Indigenous participation framework that I released at the end of last year. An action plan is being developed from the framework to help Indigenous Queenslanders have the same level of participation in the Queensland economy as non-Indigenous people in workforce participation, employment, careers, and business ownership.

In the past, much of the effort across the Indigenous portfolio has been directed at remote communities where about 20 per cent of Queensland’s Indigenous population lives. The remaining 80 per cent live in regional centres and the south-east corner of the state. Many of them already have jobs and are participating in the economy. However, others face the daily challenges of discrimination, education, training and cultural barriers. This portfolio is a people portfolio. It values people and it values the future for all people, whether they are Indigenous or from the 220 different cultures that make up modern-day Queensland.