Members of Victoria’s Aboriginal community, private and philanthropic sectors, and three levels of government are meeting today in Melbourne to discuss priorities and actions for improving economic outcomes for Aboriginal Victorians.
The Aboriginal Victorians in the Economy Economic Development Summit is jointly hosted by the Commonwealth and Victorian Coalition Governments, and will include senior representatives from the Aboriginal, business, government and philanthropic sectors.
At the events welcome reception last night the Premier Ted Baillieu urged participants to be passionate about making a difference for the lives of Aboriginal Victorians.
“Having a job or owning a business builds self-esteem, showcases positive role models and provides Aboriginal Victorians with the ability to shape their own destiny while contributing to growing the Victorian economy,”
“The Summit is an important opportunity to develop understanding and partnerships between Aboriginal individuals, families and communities and the private, philanthropic and government sectors,” Mr Baillieu said.
The Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Jeanette Powell officially opened the summit this morning and said the Summit’s theme, New Conversations, is appropriate for the challenges and opportunities associated with improving the living standards and quality of life of Aboriginal Victorians.
“Aboriginal Victorians are already making a positive contribution to the Victorian economy as workers, business owners, investors and consumers,”
“One of the key challenges for Summit participants is how we acknowledge and build on this contribution to emphasise high achievement and improve both the level and quality of participation in employment and in business.” Mrs Powell said.
Mrs Powell said that the four major themes being discussed at the Summit are: Unlocking the Potential of Young Aboriginal Victorians; Growing Victoria’s Aboriginal Workforce; More Productive and Competitive Businesses and Financial Security and Wealth Creation.
Mrs Powell said there were some encouraging trends, such as a growing number of Aboriginal Victorians in business; an increase in the number of children staying in school to year 12; and a high proportion of Aboriginal employees working in the high growth sector of health care and social assistance.
However, Mrs Powell said that more work needed to be done, including increasing the representation of Indigenous people in other high growth areas such as professional, scientific and technical services.
“Victoria has a young Aboriginal population full of promise and possibilities and an adult population who need to be able to have access to the opportunities afforded by the Victorian economy,”
“In education, as in employment and business participation, we need to look beyond disadvantage and have the same high expectations for every Victorian child and adult.” Mrs Powell said.
The outcomes from the Summit will help to inform the development of the Aboriginal Victorian Economic Development Strategy, which will be released later in 2012.