Aboriginal Jobs & Business Road Show

19-23 October 2009 New England North West NSW

Final Report

June 2010

Final Report: Aboriginal Jobs & Business Road Show
Table of Contents
Background & Purpose......................................3 Executive Summary..............................................4
Full Benefits of Working..................................................8 Barriers & Challenges......................................................9 Gaps........................................................................................10 Solutions & Ways Forward..........................................11 High Points from Open Discussion.......................33 White Board Notes.........................................................34

Forum Structure....................................................36
Goals.......................................................................................36 Regional Development Australia, Northern Inland – Kim-Trieste Hastings...................................36 TAFE NSW – New England Institute (TAFE).......37 Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) – Michelle Rorato & Narelle Webb..............................................37 Australian Electoral Commission...........................37 NewTRAIN – Clive Cooke & Kevin Smith..........38 Business Enterprise Centre (BEC) – Shane Levy & Leta Ahoy........................................................................38 Jobs Australia – Matthew Walsh & Ray Nyland....................................................................................38 BEST Employment – Russell Stewart & Dianne Clayton..................................................................................39 NSW Department of Fair Trading – Brett Cunningham......................................................................39 Danieli Studios...................................................................40 Project Team & Partner Roles.................................40

Armidale Forum....................................................12
Armidale Local Aboriginal Land Council – Charles Lynch & Judith Burns..................................13 High Points from Open Discussion.......................13 White Board Notes.........................................................15

Tenterfield.................................................................17
Moombahlene Local Aboriginal Land Council – Peter Harmond.........................................17 High Points from Open Discussion.......................18 White Board Notes.........................................................19

Moree.........................................................................23
Moree Local Aboriginal Land Council – Karen Craigie....................................................................24 High Points from Open Discussion.......................24 White Board Notes.........................................................25 Narrabri Local Aboriginal Land Council – Lynn Trindall........................................................................27 High Points from Open Discussion.......................29 White Board Notes.........................................................30 Red Chief Local Aboriginal Land Council – Mitchum Neaves.............................................................32

Evaluation Remarks...........................................42 Narrabri......................................................................27 Next Steps & Recommendations..............43
Innovation Awards.........................................................43 Location-Specific Actions.........................................44 DVD, Photographs & Report....................................44

Gunnedah...............................................................32

Appendices............................................................45
Media Coverage............................................................45 Keepit Region Aboriginal Community Employment 'Foundation Strategy'....................50

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Final Report: Aboriginal Jobs & Business Road Show

Background & Purpose
A series of five Forums were held across the New England North West to help improve Aboriginal economic participation and wellbeing by strengthening understanding and relationships between Aboriginal stakeholders, employers and employment related services. “Closing the Gap” in Aboriginal employment and economic wellbeing is a national priority of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG). It is especially important for the Keepit Region within the New England North West Region which has the lowest Aboriginal employment and economic participation rates in NSW1. The Forums were developed and delivered by a network of partner organisations led by Regional Development Australia – Northern Inland. The five locations for the Forums were chosen due to support being given by the Local Aboriginal Land Council. This support was agreed by the Partners to be a key principle for the Road Show. The concept for the Road Show emerged from several months of discussions between the Partners. It was agreed that there was value in working collaboratively to bring together a comprehensive suite of support at the one place and time for communities. By working collaboratively, the partners brought together a wide range of services and expertise in Aboriginal employment and business development. There was a shared view that this would help communities to increase their understanding of services available. This approach also role modelled the very collaborative approach many commentators believe to be needed to improve economic outcomes for Aboriginal people. Forums were held in Armidale, Tenterfield, Moree, Narrabri and Gunnedah. The Narrabri and Gunnedah Forums also specifically progressed an area of priority need identified in the Keepit Region 'Foundation Strategy'2 (refer copy in the Appendices), namely to convene business forums focussed on Aboriginal employment and enterprise.

1 2

74.5% for Aboriginal men (93.7% non Aboriginal) and 75.3% for Aboriginal women (93.9% non Aboriginal) – Two Ways Together, Report on Indicators 2007, NSW Department of Aboriginal Affairs. Foundation Strategy: Keepit Region ACES (Aboriginal Community Employment Strategy), Northern Inland Regional Development Board, September 2009.

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Executive Summary
The Aboriginal Jobs & Business Road Show consisted of a series of five Forums which brought together nearly two hundred stakeholders from across the spectrum of services supporting employment and business development for Aboriginal people and the wider community. The Forums substantially achieved their intended goals of strengthening the relationships between these key stakeholders. In some locations however business and/or local government groups were not represented and further work is recommended in this regard. Valuable gains were made in improving the understanding of different needs and expectations of each stakeholder involved. This encompassed the critical area of understanding barriers, such as negative stereotypes, cultural understanding and increasing awareness of the wide range of support and services that are available to enhance employment and business development for Aboriginal people. An innovative aspect of the Road Show was the partnership with a specialist media company. Significant mainstream media coverage was achieved locally and regionally as well as national coverage in the Koori Mail. A DVD and comprehensive photographic record have also been made of the Road Show to further strengthen communications. Every Forum brought surprise about the how much employment related support and services was available. Most participants were unaware of many of the supports and services, and often one participant would suggest what was needed with another participant advising them it was already available. This outcome demonstrated the value of the Road Show partnership model in bringing together a range of services to each community.

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At the same time however the most frequently absent groups – employers and business – are likely to still have a low awareness of available services. There is a clear need to develop strategies that better engage the mainstream business community and address this gap. Most people agreed that the greatest barriers to “closing the gap” on the economic wellbeing of Aboriginal people are issues of attitude and behaviour change. In every Forum deeply painful issues of racism, prejudice, past injustices and damaging stereotypes were raised. These prejudices were observed in every direction and from every corner too – with the fact that Aboriginal people undermine each other being as serious an issue as the blunt racism of some business operators towards not considering employment of Aboriginal people. Each Forum generated agreements and opportunities for local initiatives. These included offers to present and meet with the mainstream business development groups through to specific enterprise ideas and the formation of an Aboriginal Interagency Group. The Partner organisations generated new clientele and community partnership opportunities: • AEC recruited a new Aboriginal employee, booked an Electoral Education Session with the Ashford Local Aboriginal Lands Council for January 2010 and received an increased number of expressions of interest to register to vote; There has been an increase in Aboriginal young people attending the AEC to register their interest for employment opportunities;

IBA received 10 new enquiries including preparations for an Enterprise Course for twenty plus people in Moree, to be held in early 2010;

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• • BEC received a number of new enquiries from Aboriginal communities who were unaware of their services offered in the region; NewTRAIN received an uptake in enquiries for Group Training apprentices, particularly through their Gunnedah representative, Daniel Lickorish.

The respect shown for the importance and role of Local Aboriginal Land Councils was seen as both positive and useful. LALCs are the only legislatively formed bodies in NSW with responsibility for Aboriginal culture and heritage. LALCs perform key responsibilities in each community. The timing of the Road Show enabled each LALC to highlight priorities from their new Land, Community and Business Plans and in many instances generate greater support for their implementation. Actual job opportunities were also generated. While the design of the Forums was primarily to strengthen the long-term foundations for economic development – the relationships and understanding between key stakeholders – it was of course very satisfying to achieve more immediate employment results as well: • • • • Challenge Disability Services Narrabri announced three positions; Namoi Valley bricks of Gunnedah announced an apprenticeship opportunity; Three school based traineeships with the Cotton CRC; and, Three trainee positions in Agriculture with the Indigenous Land Corporation at Trelawney.

Throughout the Road Show the question of the true value and importance of work was explored. What was clearly evident was that real value of work was much broader and deeper than money alone (though the importance of this to health, housing, education and a good lifestyle should never be forgotten). It was clear that work plays a key role in growing self esteem, providing opportunities to make a difference to other people and strengthen the culture and pride of Aboriginal people. There is scope to use these broader benefits to better motivate and inspire the social and attitudinal changes that are required. “If you want to build a ship, don’t herd people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” ~ Antoine de St. Exupery As the above quote stresses it can be these broader benefits from work that provide the key to creating the 'longing for the endless immensity of the sea' – or work – for any given individual.

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Each individual's job journey can be long and arduous with many unexpected twists and turns. And it is in the pursuit of these greater benefits that the true rewards of work, business and employment can be found – be that for an employee, an employer, a service provider or business operator.

Moving forwards there are numerous recommendations and actions that were identified and agreed throughout the Road Show – both local and regional. A consolidated summary of the discussions of all the Forums are included on the following pages as well as the dedicated section near the end of this Report. For the organising Partners their future focus is on engagement and working with mainstream employers and business. The preference is to undertake a second Road Show series that centres on partnering with Chambers of Commerce, Industry Bodies and Development Boards.

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Full Benefits of Working
Responses by participants to the question regarding the real value of work to them.

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Barriers & Challenges

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Gaps
The following mind map summarises gaps that were identified by participants. While 'gaps' were not specifically asked for they were readily identified in the course of every Forum. The 'gaps' refer to key stakeholders not in attendance at the Forums – which are generalised here but listed specifically for each Forum location in later sections of this Report – and gaps such as infrastructure (eg. Aboriginal Interagency Networks), knowledge (eg. What youth want to see happen and change) and responsibilities (eg. The need for Chambers needing to focus on Aboriginal economic development too).

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Solutions & Ways Forward

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Armidale Forum
Steve Widders opened the Forum with a welcome to country as a descendent of the Anaiwan people. Aboriginal Australians hold the oldest continuous culture in the world.

Steve spoke about the importance of employment and the need for partnerships, strategies and action to improve employment outcomes for Aboriginal people. Similarly Steve spoke of the need for improved understanding and stronger relationships between the three key areas of employers, employment/training services and the Aboriginal community. Approximately 45 people attended the Armidale Forum, including Aboriginal community members, business operators, government agencies, community and employment services. The gaps identified in regards to participation were schools, the Business Chamber, hospitality businesses and unemployed Aboriginal people.

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Armidale Local Aboriginal Land Council – Charles Lynch & Judith Burns
There are (conservatively) 1,600 identified Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the Armidale LALC region representing some 5.9% of the community. 44% are under the age of 18 and the median age is twenty years old. 70% have Year 10 or below standard of education and one-third have post school qualifications. More than half the community have a weekly income below $250 and unemployment stands at 30% – more than four times the rate for the non-Indigenous community and well above the NSW average rate for Indigenous people of 19%. Most jobs are being sourced through informal networks rather than mainstream recruitment channels and most are restricted to narrow areas seen as 'culturally appropriate' – like outdoor labouring – and not reflective of the wide range of employment opportunities such as IT, medicine and law. Racism continues to be a major issue and barrier to Aboriginal employment. The Armidale LALC is under administration and Charles is working as acting CEO to reestablish its viability. There is a new Board and the permanent CEO is under recruitment now. Work is continuing on the Land Community and Business Plan with a primary focus on land, culture, business and enterprise. The Plan is a 'privileged document' with parts being commercial in confidence. Such intellectual property is a vexed issue for Aboriginal people – in a similar way to the challenges experienced with art and music being used for enterprise. The Community Survey undertaken as part of the Plan identified that there is not enough work, especially for teenagers and young people. Concerns include the low levels of cultural awareness in the wider community and Aboriginal people have a low level of confidence in employment and business development services. The Plan provides an evidence base for other key stakeholder services too – such as Armidale and Uralla Councils. These findings reinforce the reasons why most employment is still sourced through informal networks.

High Points from Open Discussion
Racism was identified as a critical issue in Armidale and as being present on all sides of the employment and business table – employers, community members, Aboriginal people and services. Part of the cause of this problem is the low level of understanding of each others' needs and expectations.

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The importance and need for strengthening partnerships and collaboration between key groups and services was identified as one way forward, though it was noted that often funding tensions and conditions were a barrier to this. Many people were surprised to realise how wide a range of services and support was available. At the same time it seems fair to say that most jobs are still being accessed through informal networks. There is a need to strengthen employment of Aboriginal people into 'visible' positions within the community – such as hospitality, retail, pharmacy, financial services and selfemployment or small business. Education and mentoring was identified as a key strategy, including mentoring for parents in situations where they might not have the experience of supporting their children through the maze of employment. At the same time however some noted that there are many unemployed Aboriginal people with plenty of qualifications and it is real work – rather than short term work experience and traineeships – that is required.

It was agreed that there would be a value in reconvening the participants from this Forum for a shorter meeting to discuss what the priority actions for Armidale are, with a particular request for the Road Show Partners to play a coordinating and facilitating role.

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White Board Notes

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Tenterfield
Helen Duroux performed welcome to country on behalf of the Gidhabal and Bundjalong People of the Kamilaroi Nation. A minute silence was observed. Approximately 35 people attended the Tenterfield Forum with most being members of the Aboriginal community – both employed and unemployed. Other attendees came from community and employment related services. Gaps existed for local government and business.

Moombahlene Local Aboriginal Land Council – Peter Harmond
The Tenterfield Aboriginal community experiences unemployment at a rate of 26-30% compared with the prevailing rate in the wider community of around 7-8%. There are 455 Aboriginal members of the community which is around 7% of the total population, compared with the NSW wide level of 2.1%. Challenges for the Moombahlene LALC include having a specific role in the area of land and maintenance of culture yet only a very small budget to uphold these responsibilities.

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The opportunities identified for job creation include: • • • • • Creating a Bingai 4,000ha Indigenous Protected Area; Joint or Co-Management with National Parks; Going into partnership with the AHO and providing office space; Sites identification and management work; and, Development of a Wildlife Interpretation Centre and Culture-based Tourism.

Funding for feasibility studies is required to progress these matters.

High Points from Open Discussion
For many participants the value of work was practical: being able to support themselves, to be able to move out of home and have money. However the majority of participants spoke about the importance of work to their self esteem, their ability to make a difference to others, their people and their culture. Participants again remarked about their surprise at the wide range of services and supports that were available. They also flagged however that they felt the key audience for this information was employers (who were absent from the Forum). In regards to what was needed to be done differently there was a healthy mix of ideas for the Aboriginal and wider community to take on board. These included: challenging Aboriginal people to believe in themselves and not wait for or rely on external support or money; and, the need to generate more employment in mainstream settings. Support was expressed for the opportunities outlined by Moombahlene LALC and specifically a group of individuals agreed to organise a meeting with key stakeholders to accelerate work on the Wildlife Interpretation Centre and Culture-based Tourism (Wollooll Tours).

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White Board Notes

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Moree
David Craigee welcomed everyone to Gamilaraay country and spoke about this being a very important occasion to look at the potential for Aboriginal employment and address a very serious issue. David encouraged participants to address barrier, identify actions that could be taken, including ways to bring agencies together. Meryl Dillon welcomed everyone on behalf of Regional Development Australia – Northern Inland. The Moree Forum was attended by around 20 people, mainly being Aboriginal community members and community-related services. The gaps included local government, business and employers. Les Lang (Bluey) presented his vision for establishing Defence Cadets in Moree. Les has given three years service in the ADF and has voluntarily worked to strengthen the recognition of Aboriginal participation in defence forces as well as recruitment and training opportunities for the future. Les spoke passionately about the high quality training offered by ADF and the benefits of qualifications and self discipline.

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Moree Local Aboriginal Land Council – Karen Craigie
Karen Craigie spoke about the significant role of LALCs for Aboriginal people. State-wide there are more than 500 people employed across 121 LALCs. In addition there are Board members of ten people each on average and nine State Councillors, totally more than a thousand people in governance roles. Moree LALC is currently under administration and is working on its Community Land and Business Plan. Consultations have been held with Elders, Services and community members. Partnerships are being sought, such as with the SES, and the LALC is working closely with the Shire, however these can only progress in earnest once the LALC comes out of Administration.

High Points from Open Discussion
The main barrier identified was the lack of partnerships and tensions between organisations and services which should be working together. The non attendance of the LGA was pointed out as one example of this. At the same formation of partnerships was seen as a key opportunity moving forwards. Moree LALC proposed that a two-day forum be organised to bring together key stakeholders to specifically strengthen partnership building. The initial step to be taken is a working party will be formed to identify key stakeholders and bring together the various key strategies and action plans. A range of opportunities were identified for business – including self employment and Aboriginal owned/run enterprises. Moree LALC agreed to be the point of liaison for IBA to return next year and host an Enterprise Course workshop. It was agreed this would also be made available to Boggabilla, Toomelah and Mungindi. BEC and the AEDO agreed to also be involved. The discussion around the importance and value of work was most often described in terms of survival for the future and as a key part of self determination for Aboriginal people. Comments were made about the pride and self esteem which came from work, the social and community connections, as well as the money and the increased choices that were possible with it.

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White Board Notes

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Narrabri
Craig Trindall gave yaama on behalf of the Gomeroi people, acknowledging Elders past and present. Craig expressed how inspiring it was to see such a large turnout, with more than forty-five people attending the Narrabri Forum and representing a really diverse range of interests. Craig spoke of the importance of involving young people in this work, remembering Elders, and the fact this was a very dynamic community with a strong culture of looking after visitors. He wished everyone success in the Forum and working together with respect.

The Narrabri Forum was the most strongly attended in the Road Show and had the most diverse representation from business and employers, education and training, Aboriginal people, community organisations and services.

Narrabri Local Aboriginal Land Council – Lynn Trindall
Lynn was recently appointed as CEO of the Land Council, changing over from the previous position of Administrator. The earliest priority emerging from the Narrabri LALC Land Community and Business Plan was employment. The Plan was prepared by consultancy Key Insights and includes three years of mentoring for the LALC in implementation. For the LALC itself the short term goals are to enhance operations and services, increase housing accessibility and manage the seventeen units of housing it owns.

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Some of the challenges seen by the LALC include the conflict between Aboriginal people (“black on black”) and the fact that negatives tarnish everyone while there is a real need to promote achievements more strongly. There is a high rate of migration to Narrabri and the community is well functioning really. This includes the relationship with Narrabri Shire Council (with a Memorandum of Understanding being signed later in the day). Returning to the matter of employment there are clear challenges that remain. While there has been a lot of progress in the last 20 years there are still only 'white faces' in the main street. It is hard to open doors into mainstream employers and most Aboriginal people are employed in 'identified' or 'government' positions. Some private employers speak of their fear of 'losing customers to their competitors if they had dark employees'. Narrabri LALC owns prime real estate and is working to establish an enterprise that incorporates a motel, cafe and cultural centre – which in turn can act as a feeder into tourism and other culture-based services. The LALC is investigating partnerships with motel chains. Narrabri LALC is similar to many inland Land Councils in that it has relatively far fewer financial assets than the coastal Land Councils and those that border large metropolitan areas. For this reason partnerships and support from local business and other organisations is essential to strengthening the economic wellbeing of the Aboriginal community.

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High Points from Open Discussion
Russell Stewart from the Chamber of Commerce (and BEST Employment) spoke about the need to create visual and mainstream employment for Aboriginal people in positions of trust. While the subsidies for wages are useful they are not really that significant for most positions – like truck drivers, machine operators, medical receptions or chemist assistances – where what is at really stake is employers having confidence in the individual employee working well much more than the salary and subsidies alone. An example was given of the three Aboriginal women who had completed a hospitality course and took up an invitation to volunteer at the recent business awards. The women were ushers and met business people, politicians and community leaders with more than 400 people attending in total. At the close of the night Russell complimented and thanked the women for their voluntary contribution and invited employers to call him if they were interested in employing them. Numerous actions were agreed at the Forum including: • • • Invitation to meet with the Narrabri Chamber of Commerce (through Russell Stewart); Invitation to meet with the Wee Waa Chamber of Commerce; and, Begin work on forming an Aboriginal InterAgency Group.

Education was seen as the key strategy to improve employment opportunities for Aboriginal people, particularly to address negative stereotypes and attitudes as well as build bridges and partnerships between key organisations. There are many Aboriginal people employed throughout the community, however most people are probably not aware that this is the case. In fact often Aboriginal people are turned away for being 'too qualified' for the jobs they apply for. An interesting dilemma that was discussed was the barrier represented by traditional recruitment and interview processes – such as written applications and panel interviews – which tested skills and used situations which had little or no relevance to the actual nature of the work to be undertaken. There was a desire for more practical approaches to be taken, from interviews and recruitment 'in the field' to learning and training that was 'on the job'.

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White Board Notes

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Gunnedah
Mitchum Neaves gave yaama to his country and thanked everyone for attending the Forum. Mitchum acknowledged Elders past and present. Colleen Fuller welcomed everyone on behalf of Gunnedah Shire Council and expressed her belief that much more can be achieved for Aboriginal people by working together as a community. There is a need to be supportive and let Aboriginal organisations and people lead the way. More than forty people attended the Gunnedah Forum from a solid cross section of business groups, employment services and the Aboriginal community. The Gunnedah Forum was slightly different to the previous four forums, was more forward looking to build upon the intensive work that has been undertaken over the previous two years by the Northern Inland Regional Development Board. Jason Smith from the AES spoke about their work in achieving 140 job outcomes in the last year, 65% of which are greater than 26 weeks. The AES works closely with young people. Things have changed. Sixteen years ago there were jobs in labouring that aren't there now. There is a real need to complete school. The AES brings school and work together in their School-Based Traineeship Program and have fifteen graduates this year from across the New England North West.

Red Chief Local Aboriginal Land Council – Mitchum Neaves
Mitchum conveyed apologies from Robert Horne who was unable to present today. Red Chief prioritises the need for self sufficiency and self determination for Aboriginal people, respect for Elders and each other (especially for young people who unfortunately have largely lost it). Red Chief works across both Gunnedah and Narrabri Shire Councils, holds seventeen houses and land. Work is important and enables Aboriginal people to follow their dream. Money is important to support family, look after health and to have fun! Work enables Aboriginal people to control their own destiny and not live on handouts. For example, the local Police submission to the Red Chief Community, Land and Business Plan identified employment as the highest priority to addressing crime and delinquency. There is a particular need to create employment in country for many Aboriginal people wish to stay close to their family and community.

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High Points from Open Discussion
Three specific actions arose from the Discussion: 1. Gunnedah District Development Board agreed to support a formal meeting and presentation from Aboriginal organisations and community members; 2. A group formed to work on a strategy to acknowledge and celebrate the efforts of successful students; and, 3. Hunter New England Health flagged the opportunity to contribute to an upcoming 'cultural redesign' for the hospital. Negative attitudes and stereotypes were the most commented upon barrier to more employment. While the Aboriginal population is nearly 1,500 people, there are only seven Aboriginal people employed in the 'main street'.

In many ways the work needing to be done – building partnerships, cultural understanding, education and relationships – is happening. This needs to continue and be strengthened, such as the Keepit ACES and this Road Show. Like Narrabri, the style of interview and recruitment processes came up as a barrier. There is a need to better match the style of recruitment and interviews with the nature of the work. For example natural resource field workers could be best tested in the field. To truly tackle Aboriginal economic participation there is a need to grow and build more business in the Gunnedah area. This includes opportunities for Aboriginal selfemployment and Aboriginal owned and run organisations or services.

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White Board Notes

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Forum Structure
The centrepiece of each Forum was a facilitated open discussion between all attendees from the local Aboriginal community, employers and employment related services. This discussion was key to the goals of increasing understanding of Aboriginal culture and needs and of employer needs plus strengthening the relationships and networks between Aboriginal stakeholders, employers and employment. Key questions and issues explored included the importance and value of work, barriers to employment, identification of what was working well, what needed to be done differently and agreed actions for moving forwards. There was also time for informal conversations and networking before and following each Forum. Presentations were made by the LALC and each partner organisation. Details of the partner presentations regarding their services and support are detailed below.

Goals
The short-term immediate goals for this Project were: • • • • Increase the understanding of employers of Aboriginal culture and needs; Increase community understanding of employer needs and available employment related services; Strengthen relationships and networks between Aboriginal stakeholders, employers and employment related services; and, Increase interest in Aboriginal business and self-employment.

The long term goal for this work is closing the gap on Aboriginal economic participation and wellbeing, increasing the number of Aboriginal people in jobs and the quality of the jobs they have.

Regional Development Australia, Northern Inland – Kim-Trieste Hastings
Regional Development Australia – Northern Inland (RDANI) provided the central coordination and secretariat support for the Road Show and Partner Network as part of their Indigenous Economic Development Program. Janelle Speed and Adam Blakester were engaged for facilitation services at the Forums and Adam also was engaged to design the facilitation process and write this Report. RDANI spoke about the importance of the Forums generated local initiatives and actions to build upon and complement the services provided by the various Partners.

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The Road Show builds upon recent work undertaken including the Keepit ACES (Aboriginal Community Employment Strategy), Gunnedah Region Research into Aboriginal Employment and Training and the RDANI's successful lead with a Consortium of Aboriginal organisations for the Keepit Region Indigenous Employment Panel.

TAFE NSW – New England Institute (TAFE)
TAFE provided their facilities to host each of the five Forums, with representatives being: Armidale – Peter Fahey & Bernie Ingle Tenterfield – Caroline Newman Moree – Leonard Waters Narrabri – Dianne Richards Gunnedah – Robert Coleby TAFE explained their role in working with business and industry to boost employment through training and partnerships, and invited attendees to approach them to discuss any training needs they may have.

Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) – Michelle Rorato & Narelle Webb
IBA work to close the gap on economic participation. Their enterprise section can provide finance and loans with more flexibility than mainstream financial institutions, including low interest loans that can be unsecured. Direct investment (such as joint ventures) is also possible for businesses of $2m+. Mentoring is available for business operators in areas such as bookkeeping, marketing, feasibility studies with regular meetings to support this. Enterprise Workshops are available for groups of twenty or more people. Home loans are also available at subsidised rates. IBA receives referrals from BEC and Aboriginal Economic Development Officers.

Australian Electoral Commission – Yvonne Lea
The AEC participated in the Road Show to promote opportunities for direct employment – which was an innovative and successful strategy – as well as to raise awareness about electoral enrolment.

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NewTRAIN – Clive Cooke & Kevin Smith
NewTRAIN is a community based organisation and work right across NSW. NewTRAIN has more than 20% Aboriginal staff and operates the Personal Support Program. NewTRAIN also works in partnership with Job Network providers, such as BEST Employment, to deliver specific training packages like in hospitality. NewTRAIN provide a wide range of community services though their focus throughout the Road Show was on their ability to custom design training to specific jobs and employers so that employees can 'hit the ground running' and be 'job ready'. The key difference in this approach is that the employees are able to do the job rather than just have a certificate. This includes access to the Australian Apprenticeship Access Program which is particularly useful for training to a specific industry or sector, for example aged care.

Business Enterprise Centre (BEC) – Shane Levy & Leta Ahoy
The BEC and IBA work together and have services that are complementary. BEC can assist with the establishment of businesses, encourage entrepreneurs, assess business viability and provide a range of support to help new businesses succeed including planning, marketing, franchising, mentoring and access to training. This is an advisory role and service. BEC is seeking more referrals for their services. BEC also auspices the New Careers for Aboriginal People (NCAP) service which is available to help Aboriginal people and employers to match people with jobs, develop resumes, job applications, interview preparation, contract negotiations and mentoring both before and after job placement. This can include speaking with employers on behalf of employees. The NCAP service can help in situations when Aboriginal people aren't comfortable to raise matters of culture with non-Aboriginal people. Similarly approaches can be made direct to employers about their willingness to employ Aboriginal people. Leta is a qualified trainer and can organise training for groups as an option to TAFE, NewTRAIN etc.

Jobs Australia – Matthew Walsh & Ray Nyland
Jobs Australia are part of the Job Services Australia network and focus on addressing the root issues that help Aboriginal people into employment and support them to stay there. They take a holistic approach including pre-employment training.

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Jobs Australia has identified working in partnership with employers as key, and the success of the Aboriginal traineeship program with NECU is a good example of the value of this approach. So too their work with TAFE and Red Chief Local Aboriginal Land Council. Often work experience is a good practical way for employees and employers to 'try before they buy', get to know each other and determine whether things can work together. Pre-employment training and support is especially useful in these settings. As a JSA they can also support job applicants with resumes, job applications and interviews. Increasingly the JSA's are training and preparing Aboriginal people for mainstream employment.

BEST Employment – Russell Stewart & Dianne Clayton
BEST Employment are part of the Job Services Australia network. In addition to employment services they also support business development and operate several community enterprises such as a cafe in Armidale and a plant propagation business. BEST services are available to everyone on Centrelink benefits and includes training and skills for work plus job search services.

NSW Department of Fair Trading – Brett Cunningham
Fair Trading are looking to develop new partnerships, such as with Land Councils, to help spread the word about the services they offer. Fair Trading can run information sessions about business names, setting up community organisations and consumer rights – recently sponsoring Deadly Dollars, a theatre-style education strategy about financial issues, managing money and dealing with debt.

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Danieli Studios
Danieli Studios filmed the Forums and will produce a short DVD summary of the Road Show. Still photographs throughout this Report were also taken. Media releases were also issued and copies of some of the media coverage received are included later in this Report.

Project Team & Partner Roles

Front (L - R): Adam Blakester, Shane Levy, Kim-Trieste Hastings, Janelle Speed Rear (L – R): Kevin Smith, Clive Cook, Yvonne Lea, Michelle Rorato, Leta Ahoy

The organisational structure for the Aboriginal Jobs & Business Road Show was a partnership and collaboration of organisations. This structure was able to bring a range of services and networks to Aboriginal communities, demonstrating the intention of strengthening the understanding and relationships between employment related services, the Aboriginal community and local employers.

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Final Report: Aboriginal Jobs & Business Road Show
Partner
Regional Development Australia – Northern Inland Jobs Australia & BEST Employment Employment Australian Electoral Commission, Fair Trading, Centrelink Business Enterprise Centre, NewTRAIN, Indigenous Business Australia TAFE NSW – New England Institute NSW Department of Aboriginal Affairs Danieli Studios ParadigmPlay, Indigo Answers

Role
Project Coordination Service Presentation, Promote Forums Attend and Promote Forums Recruit employers, Employment Service Presentation, Promote Forums Provide venues for Forums, Employment Service Presentation Contribution towards catering costs Media, Film, Photography and Communications Process Design, Facilitation, Analysis and Reporting

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Final Report: Aboriginal Jobs & Business Road Show

Evaluation Remarks
“Very good, great opportunity for frank discussions between different groups of people. Needed more community members.” – Armidale Forum

“Venue poor, could have been bigger, length could have been longer.” – Armidale Forum

“More time needed, venue a bit small for the number of people in attendance.” – Armidale Forum

“Health: Mental, physical, emotional preparedness for work, may need consideration for connecting in future.” – Tenterfield Forum

“Sessions such as these are an effective way to bring the community together to look at common issues and brain accordingly.” – “Well done to all. Thank you.” – Gunnedah Forum Narrabri Forum

“Fantastic Roadshow! Best I have seen. Thank you.” – Gunnedah Forum

“It has given me greater knowledge of why employment is low and what needs to be done.” – Gunnedah Forum

“Participation, energy of members of the group involved was very good! Enjoyed and learned lots.” – Narrabri Forum

“Was very good. It was good that people were kept on track.” – Narrabri Forum

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Final Report: Aboriginal Jobs & Business Road Show

Next Steps & Recommendations
The Project Partners have expressed a keen interest in this initial series of Forums becoming an ongoing and replicable model for the New England North West. Throughout the Road Show there were questions asked by attendees about 'when the next Forum would be'. The clearest consistent opportunity and issue from all the Forums was the need to focus on creating jobs for Aboriginal people in 'mainstream' settings. The Chambers of Commerce representatives attending these Forums were open to meeting with Aboriginal stakeholders. It is suggested that the next Road Show be undertaken in partnership with Chambers of Commerce and other business and industry organisations and networks. Expressions of interest from Chambers of Commerce and other parties are openly sought. The word of mouth marketing for this Road Show was largely successful however the Partners felt this would be strengthened by both paid advertising and a media strategy in advance of the forums for any future Road Show. A follow up meeting will be held in Armidale to discuss actions and next steps from their Forum – as this was not possible due to limited time at the Armidale Forum held as part of this Road Show. While travelling through the Region the Partners visited the Ashford LALC and were deeply impressed by the progress they were making in establishing a cultural centre and building a tourism base. This has sparked a range of local relationships such as with the Chamber of Commerce. The Partners felt any future Road Show should be supportive of Ashford and provide an opportunity for them to tell their story.

Innovation Awards
The Regional Development Australia – Northern Inland Committee have agreed in principle to create Aboriginal specific categories for the Northern Inland Innovation Awards. While the specific categories are yet to be developed they will focus on recognising innovation in employment of Aboriginal people and in Aboriginal business and organisations. This recognition aligns with the numerous suggestions throughout the Road Show for greater promotion of Aboriginal success and role models. Awards were also identified as a priority initiative in the Foundation Strategy3 (refer Appendices). Expressions of interest are sought from Aboriginal people and organisations to be involved with the development and implementation of this initiative.
3 Ibid. Northern Inland Regional Development Board, September 2009.

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Final Report: Aboriginal Jobs & Business Road Show
Location-Specific Actions
Armidale • Reconvene participants to discuss priority actions for Armidale flowing from the Forum

Tenterfield • Meeting with key stakeholders to accelerate work on the Wildlife Interpretation Centre and Culture-based Tourism (Wollooll Tours)

Moree • • Two-day forum on partnership building. Working party will be formed to identify key stakeholders and bring together the various key strategies and action plans Moree LALC to be the point of liaison for IBA Enterprise Workshop. It was agreed this would also be made available to Boggabilla, Toomelah and Mungindi. BEC and the AEDO agreed to also be involved

Narrabri • • • Meeting with the Narrabri Chamber of Commerce Meeting with the Wee Waa Chamber of Commerce Commence formation of an Aboriginal InterAgency Group

Gunnedah • • • Meeting with Gunnedah District Development Board Group form to work on celebrating the efforts of successful students Participation in Hunter New England Health 'cultural redesign' for the hospital

DVD, Photographs & Report
All Forum attendees, and registered apologies, will be notified of the availability of these resources. They will be promoted via the Partners and will be available on request by any other interest person or organisation. This Report is being circulate by email. A CD with the Photographs is available on request. The DVD is being created with footage from each of the Forums.

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Final Report: Aboriginal Jobs & Business Road Show

Appendices
Media Coverage

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Final Report: Aboriginal Jobs & Business Road Show

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Final Report: Aboriginal Jobs & Business Road Show

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Final Report: Aboriginal Jobs & Business Road Show

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Final Report: Aboriginal Jobs & Business Road Show

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Final Report: Aboriginal Jobs & Business Road Show
Keepit Region Aboriginal Community Employment 'Foundation Strategy'

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