Minister wants to ‘showcase’ aboriginal people in 5 star hotels
It’s great to think there is an avenue for more Indigenous jobs but the terminology ‘showcasing Aboriginal people’ is awful. Pity the opportunity had to be presented in such a crass way – read on and see what you think.
A Darwin-based Indigenous leader says he supports any program that encourages Aboriginal employment, including the idea of showcasing Indigenous workers at five-star hotels.
Kelvin Costello from the Larrakia Nation says Indigenous people need to work with the Government whenever it offers to fund programs.
“The reality is that Aboriginal people need to find the opportunities and work with those opportunities to feed our kids and to ensure that our culture can remain strong and continue,” he said.
Though many feel this idea is patronising and reinforces negative stereotyping left over from colonisation, Mal Brough, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, said at the recent Indigenous business conference in Sydney that he was meeting with Tourism Training Australia consultant Bill Galvin to explore the idea of Aboriginal people from remote communities working at the reception of hotels such as Sydney’s Hilton.
“We will take young people, who are selected because they want to see a change in their own lives, want an opportunity, who may not have the educational qualifications yet, from those regional communities,” the minister said.
“We will put them front-of-house in five-star hotels throughout Australia….There will be a lot of challenges with that, but it does two things…..It provides opportunity for those people….(and) it also provides an opportunity for Australia to showcase our first Australians, and that is exactly what tourists come here to see….When they turn up to our major tourist attractions they don’t see many of our first Australians….We can open up opportunities both ways.”
The jobs will be a pathway showing Indigenous communities there is a way forward said the minister. He wants to expand a program started by Queensland Aboriginal leader Noel Pearson that sends people away from remote communities to work interstate. These workers are given a one-way fare to work on farms where they are mentored and taught skills.
“If they choose to go home that’s just fine, if they choose to work somewhere else that’s equally as great, if they find economic independence and help their brothers, sisters and cousins to find a new way well that’s fantastic” he said, and “there are also moves to find opportunities to expand that program in the agriculture and tourism industries.”
The program is due to start in the next two months.
First Nations Economic Opportunities Conference Sydney 17-20 July 2006
Joseph Elu, Chairman of Indigenous Business Australia, said the intent of the Conference was to assist and promote the Indigenous entrepreneur and allow a sharing of knowledge, expertise and insight and at the same time, offer a comprehensive overview of current thinking in the area broadly described as Indigenous business.
The Conference brought together people from a diverse range of disciplinary fields and Indigenous nations that are engaged in developing, have ownership of, or have an impact on the emerging Indigenous business landscape. The major theme of this conference is to share information.