26 September 2023

DMIRS to host Aboriginal powers

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A new Aboriginal Empowerment Unit is to be established in the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.

Announced by the Minister for Mines and Petroleum, the new business unit is being set up to ensure resource development is culturally respectful and to develop and implement an Aboriginal Empowerment Initiative (AEI) program.

The unit is expected to cost $14.6 million and create 29 jobs, including 10 in its first year.

The Minister, Bill Johnston said the program would ensure mining and resources projects and policies were developed in a culturally respectful way.

He said it would improve information access for Aboriginal people related to activities on their lands.

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

“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.

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

The Department said the new Aboriginal liaison officer roles would be created to meet with Traditional Owners to share information and promote best practice engagement between industry and Aboriginal people.

It said the AEI would 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.

Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Tony Buti said the AEI supported the Government’s Aboriginal Empowerment Strategy 2021-2029 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,” Dr Buti said.

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