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Regional Partnership Agreement (RPA) on Indigenous Employment in Port Hedland

Date: 7 November 2006
Date To: End of June 2011
Sub Category:Regional Partnership Agreement (RPA)
Place:Port Hedland
State/Country:Western Australia, Australia
This Regional Partnership Agreement (RPA) relates to the town of Port Hedland in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Port Hedland is home to the largest tonnage port in Australia, making it a key centre for the iron ore industry.
Alternative Names:
  • Port Hedland RPA
  • Subject Matter: | Economic Development | Employment and Training | Youth
    Summary Information:
    The Regional Partnership Agreement (RPA) on Indigenous Employment in Port Hedland was signed on 7 November 2006 by the following parties:

  • the Commonwealth government (represented by the Hon Mal Brough, MP, Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs);

  • the West Australian government (represented by the Hon Shiela M McHale, MLA, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Culture and the Arts);

  • the Town of Port Hedland;

  • various industry bodies; and

  • Indigenous organisations.

  • A full list of parties to this RPA is provided below.

    This RPA was agreed in response to the comparatively high levels of unemployment experienced by Indigenous people in Port Hedland. The purpose of this RPA is to allow the parties to 'work together to bring about demonstrable improvements in employment outcomes' (Clause 1.3).
    Detailed Information:
    This RPA is intended to be a statement of the mutual intention of the parties, and does not give rise to any enforceable rights or binding obligations for any party.

    The RPA commenced with the signing of the document on 7 November 2006. It will continue until the end of June 2011, unless all the parties agree to terminate it or prepare another document that replaces this RPA.

    Background and key targets

    This RPA is based upon the principles enumerated in the National Framework Principles for Service Delivery to Indigenous Australians, which was endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in June 2004. It was created pursuant to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Minerals Council of Australia and the Commonwealth government (1 June 2005 - 2010). It is the second of several RPAs which are provided for by the MoU.

    The RPA was agreed in response to an inequity in employment outcomes that was revealed in Census data from 2001. This data showed that 41% of the Indigenous labour force aged 15 years and over in the Pilbara was unemployed, as compared to just 7% of the non-Indigenous population in the same age group.

    The RPA operates within a five year framework, and has the key targets of reducing the rate of Indigenous unemployment in Port Hedland by 50%, and placing at least 90 additional local Indigenous people in jobs for each year within this time frame. The RPA also aims to equalise the rates of Indigenous and non-Indigenous employment over the subsequent five years.

    Objectives of this RPA

    This RPA has three key objectives:

  • RPA Objective 1: to improve the work readiness of Indigenous people in the Port Hedland region who are not currently engaged in the labour market;

  • RPA Objective 2: to provide effective Indigenous business development support and facilitation services; and

  • RPA Objective 3: to provide better coordinated and resourced Indigenous education and training solutions that are more closely linked to employment.

  • Based upon these objectives, the RPA provides for the implementation of eight projects such as 'Coordination, Motivation and Mentoring', 'Youth Pathways' and a 'Drivers Licence Program'.

    These projects are intended to deliver the following kinds of outcomes:

  • increased employability and jobs for Indigenous people in the Port Hedland region;

  • increased number of business enterprises by Indigenous people in the Port Hedland region;

  • sustainably prosperous Indigenous individuals, families and communities;

  • a strong partnership between industry, government and Indigenous people;

  • a working group to progress implementation of this RPA; and

  • a methodology for working together in areas such as regional frameworks and the promotion of best practice.

  • Projects under this RPA

    The parties to this RPA have agreed to the undertaking of the following projects:

  • Project A (Coordination, Motivation and Mentoring): seeks to create improved links between government, industry and Indigenous people in Port Hedland in order to assist more people to enter the workforce and remain in mainstream employment.

  • Project B (Drivers Licence Program): seeks to address a key barrier to employment by increasing the number of Indigenous drivers licence holders.

  • Project C (Child Care): seeks to address another barrier to employment for Indigenous women by increasing the number of child care facilities and child care workers.

  • Project D (Drug and Alcohol Support): seeks to provide funding for one additional drug and alcohol worker for Port Hedland, as well as a coordinator for the entire Pilbara region. Also aims to provide mentors and support workers for individuals affected by drugs and alcohol, so as to reduce the number of Indigenous people who are prevented from gaining employment due to failing industry standard drug and alcohol tests.

  • Project E (Housing): seeks to increase the availability of affordable accommodation in order to address housing and accommodation shortages as an obstacle to Indigenous employment.

  • Project F (Youth Pathways): provides a framework to reduce adverse contact between youth and the legal system, and seeks to support young people in re-engaging with education and training, and, ultimately, employment.

  • Project G (Indigenous Business Development): seeks to investigate and create business opportunities in order to enhance the economic independence of Indigenous people in Port Hedland.

  • Project H (Indigenous Education and Training for Employment): aims to increase local Indigenous people's rate of completion of Year 12 and post-school qualifications, as well as their workforce participation rate (especially in the resource sector).

  • Implementation and performance evaluation

    Pursuant to this RPA, the parties will each nominate at least one representative to form the Port Hedland Regional Partnership Committee ('the Committee'). Meeting quarterly, the Committee will provide strategic leadership for implementing, monitoring and addressing any shortcomings of this agreement. In turn, it will receive regular monitoring reports from the 'Implementation Team', which will consist of Australian and Western Australian government representatives. The Implementation Team will work directly with related Indigenous organisations, services, employers and government agencies to deliver the key outcomes of this RPA.

    This RPA provides for ongoing performance measurement and evaluation. The parties will jointly:

  • develop 'baseline data' against which the RPA's implementation can be measured;

  • monitor and evaluate the indicators identified in each project; and

  • participate in a formal evaluation of the RPA in July 2007.

  • The parties will also provide performance information for evaluations from time to time.
    According to the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Annual Report for 2007-2008, the RPA on Indigenous Employment in Port Hedland has achieved the following outcomes:

  • 120 Indigenous people have commenced employment.

  • $4 million has been contributed through the Western Australian Strategic Intervention Package for the construction of accommodation and training facilities at three sites in the Pilbara.

  • Better cooperation between employers and government employment service providers has been established.

  • 47 people have gained drivers' licenses and 10 pre-driver education workshops have been delivered.

  • The establishment of the Pilbara Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Program has been funded by the Commonwealth and West Australian governments.

  • The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations has taken measures to support enterprise development staff in Indigenous organisations, especially in the building and construction industry.
  • Indigenous businesses and consortiums have entered into contracts with BHP Billiton Iron Ore and Woodside Energy Ltd, with these contracts intended to provide them with long-term employment and business opportunities.

  • Related Entries

  • Memorandum of Understanding between the Minerals Council of Australia and the Commonwealth Government
  • Organisation
  • Apprenticeships Western Australia (Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA) - Signatory
  • Commonwealth of Australia - Signatory
  • State of Western Australia - Signatory
  • Town of Port Hedland - Signatory
  • Ngarda Civil and Mining Joint Venture - Signatory
  • Newcrest Mining Ltd - Signatory
  • BHP Billiton Iron Ore Pty Ltd - Signatory
  • Bloodwood Tree Association Inc - Signatory
  • Pilbara Job Futures - Signatory
  • Pilbara Meta Maya Regional Aboriginal Corporation - Signatory
  • Hedland Community Development Emloyment Projects (CDEP) Aboriginal Corporation - Signatory
  • Fortescue Metals Group Ltd - Signatory
  • Pilbara Logistics - Signatory
  • Indigenous Mining Services Pty Ltd - Signatory
  • Policy/Strategy
  • National Framework of Principles for Delivering Services to Indigenous Australians

  • Glossary

    Regional Partnership Agreement (RPA) (Australia)

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