$14.6 million to create Aboriginal Empowerment Unit

New business unit to ensure resource development is culturally respectful
Date: Thursday, 05 May 2022
  • McGowan Government commits $14.6 million for the establishment of an Aboriginal Empowerment Unit within the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety
  • State Budget 2022-23 funding will create 29 jobs, including 10 in the first year

The McGowan Government has committed $14.6 million, as part of the State Budget 2022-23, to ensure developments in Western Australia’s resources industry deliver improved outcomes for Aboriginal people.

The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety will establish an Aboriginal Empowerment Unit to develop and implement its Aboriginal Empowerment Initiative (AEI) program.

This program will ensure mining and resources projects and policies are developed in a culturally respectful way.

It will improve information access for Aboriginal people related to activities on their lands.

The program will also create new Aboriginal liaison officer roles to meet with Traditional Owners to share information and promote best practice engagement between industry and Aboriginal people.

The AEI will promote and help maintain strong relationships and partnerships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the broader community and the State Government, to create and expand economic opportunities in the resources industry.

Part of the funding will be used to create up to 29 jobs at the Unit from 2022-23 to 2025-26.

Comments attributed to Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston:

“It is important that Western Australian mining and petroleum activities also deliver improved outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“While there has been much progress, there is still more work that needs to be done to strengthen the capacity of their involvement in resources development.

“This includes being part of the decision-making on future economic development opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their communities.

“The Aboriginal Empowerment Initiative contributes to the McGowan Government’s commitment to improving outcomes for Aboriginal people.”

Comments attributed to Aboriginal Affairs Minister Tony Buti:

“The McGowan Government is committed to improving outcomes and livelihoods for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across Western Australia.

“The Aboriginal Empowerment Initiative supports the McGowan Government’s Aboriginal Empowerment Strategy 2021-2029 launched in September 2021, which sets out the strategic approach for working with Aboriginal people and creating better outcomes.

“This initiative also contributes to the work being done to expand Aboriginal people’s economic opportunities, which is a priority reform in Western Australia’s Closing the Gap Implementation Plan.”