Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion wants to create jobs and has told Goulburn Valley organisations the endless pursuit of training won’t be funded unless it leads to employment.
Mr Scullion yesterday made good on a pre-election promise to return to the region if he became the minister.
Nationals Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie and Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Minister Jeanette Powell joined him in meetings with Indigenous organisations in Shepparton.
Mr Scullion said he was flagging a significant change of focus involving Indigenous employment.
‘‘We’ve been having discussions about the change in philosophy from a supplydriven agenda, which just means we’ll train the bag out of people and Aboriginal people in Shepparton can wallpaper their room with certificates, but they’re still unemployed,’’ he said.
‘‘I’m signalling the change in the philosophy to a demand-driven area, which means engagement with employers is essential.’’
Mr Scullion said the approach ref lected the old apprenticeship system where employers valued the position and respected the arrangement for continued training and employment.
‘‘The last person you would fire was an apprentice and you couldn’t fire them without contacting the government first, so we could find them another position and we would take you to court if you didn’t,’’ he said.
‘‘So it’s that engagement and a respectful contractual arrangement with employers and support for those employers I think is some of the fundamental change.’’
Mr Scullion said the Federal Government was motivated to improve employment for Indigenous people, but that meant ‘‘a job and not constant training in pursuit of work’’.
‘‘We won’t be training someone unless there’s a job at the end of it and we think there’s plenty of jobs,’’ he said.
Mr Scullion said employers could make a meaningful contribution to reconciliation by committing to Indigenous employment.
‘‘I think it is up to everyone, if you are in business you have a responsibility,’’ he said.