Senate debates

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Questions without Notice


2:54 pm

Photo of Mitch FifieldMitch Fifield (Victoria, Liberal Party, Minister for Communications) Share this | Hansard source

I thank Senator Duniam for his question. I'm very pleased to advise colleagues that, among the 30,000 jobs created through the rollout of the NBN, there's a particular focus on providing training and employment for Indigenous Australians within their local communities. All of NBN's construction and maintenance partners are required to prepare and report on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander engagement and participation management plans, which include targets for Indigenous employment and supplier spend.

In financial year 2017, NBN's delivery partners achieved, on average, 4.5 per cent Indigenous employment on NBN projects, which was in line with the specified target of between four and five per cent. NBN's delivery partners also spent over $14 million with Indigenous suppliers in financial year 2017. In one example, NBN's construction contractor, Fulton Hogan, became aware that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers from the Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority, who were recruited for cultural heritage monitoring of earthworks, were also keen to be engaged with construction. Instead of solely being observers, these workers were able to participate in the NBN build in South Australia's south-east. Many of these workers have gained technical training, funded by NBN, and completed certificates in civil construction and telecommunication cabling.

Internally, NBN is also engaging with existing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff and graduates on employment strategies that will attract more Indigenous workers and on the range of professional development opportunities available within the company and more broadly across the project. This is some extremely good news for workers to have this opportunity and to gain further skills.


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