First Nations’ talent shines at Queensland mining awards

Thiess mining supervisor Nicole Shibasaki has been named as the Exceptional Indigenous Person in Queensland Resources at the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) Indigenous Awards gala in Brisbane.

As a proud Wulli Wulli woman and the first Indigenous female supervisor at the Caval Ridge metallurgical coal mine, Shibasaki is breaking new ground for those around her wanting to take a similar path.

This year’s Indigenous Advocacy in Queensland Resources award winner is Brisbane-based Indigenous business owner, Joseph Wallace, the managing director and founder of Multhana Property Services; a Supply Nation-certified Indigenous business.

With a vision to create better employment and upskilling opportunities for First Nations Australians across South-East Queensland, Wallace actively fosters an inclusive environment to support his employees and works closely with clients to help them meet their Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) or Queensland Indigenous Procurement Policy (QIPP) objectives.

QRC Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said the pair were both outstanding examples of the world-class workforce behind the state’s resources sector, which contributed $84.3 billion to the state economy in 2020-21.

“The door is wide open for more Indigenous people to follow trade and professional career paths into Queensland’s minerals and energy sector, with new data revealing jobs for First Nations people increased by almost 16 per cent in 2020-21,” he said.

The council’s latest Indigenous Participation Report shows more Indigenous people than ever before now work in Queensland’s resources sector, earning an annual average income of about $121,000.

He said the report reveals resources companies continue to be Queensland’s leading private sector employer of Indigenous people.

“Another stand-out result contained in the upcoming report is that 33 percent of our Indigenous workforce are now women, which exceeds our current overall female employment rate of 20 percent,” he said.

“We hope figures like this encourage more Indigenous women, and more women in general, to work in our sector or to pursue a trade or tertiary pathway to get there.

“Our industry’s workforce will continue to be our best asset, as resources companies move to lower emissions, use more renewable energy and reduce their environmental impact.”

Macfarlane said the QRC’s highly successful Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) is playing a key role in growing the state’s young Indigenous skills pipeline.

“The Next Step Destination Data shows that of the Indigenous students who went into an apprenticeship or traineeship from QMEA schools, more than a third went into the mining industry,” he said.

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