St Vincent’s Health Australia has become the latest Australian company to sign up to the Turnbull Government’s Employment Parity Initiative (EPI) by committing to take on an additional 500 Indigenous staff.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, who made the announcement at an event at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney today, said the EPI was an innovative way the Government was partnering with private sector firms to give Indigenous jobseekers life-changing employment opportunities.
Under the EPI, firms are required to commit to an Indigenous workforce of at least 3 per cent – reflecting that First Australians are 3 per cent of the population. The Government supports companies with any additional costs of employing and retaining highly disadvantaged Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander jobseekers.
St Vincent’s is the nation’s largest Catholic not-for-profit health and aged-care provider. Under its EPI agreement, St Vincent’s will increase its Indigenous workforce from its current level of 0.29 per cent to 3.24 per cent by 2019-20.
“St Vincent’s has committed to employing an additional 500 Indigenous staff, with at least 70 per cent of these positions to be filled by long-term unemployed jobseekers,” Minister Scullion said.
“With a workforce of more than 17,000 people who care for more than one million patients and residents, St Vincent’s commitment is an example of a major Australian employer taking practical action to give life-changing opportunities for First Australians.
“Through the EPI, we are working with Australia’s largest employers to ensure their workforces reflect Australia’s Indigenous population.”
The Government has entered into 11 parity partnerships with some of Australia’s largest employers – including household names such as Crown and Woolworths.
“Having an employer like St Vincent’s on a person’s résumé helps to set that person up for life and the positive effect this initiative is having for individual First Australians and the wider community makes this an investment worth celebrating,” Minister Scullion said.
Nationally, the aim of the EPI is to reach employment parity – 3 per cent – by 2020, translating to more than 20,000 jobs for Indigenous jobseekers.
Toby Hall, Group Chief Executive Officer of St Vincent’s said the commitment to employment parity complemented the company’s Reconciliation Action Plan.
“Through this partnership with the Commonwealth we will be recruiting Indigenous jobseekers in a wide range of frontline roles such as sterilising services officers, assistants in nursing and personal care, pastoral care associates and lifestyle carers,” Mr Hall said.
“There will also be a range of clerical and support roles including accounts clerks, hospital assistants, janitorial, maintenance and gardening roles, orderlies and tradespeople.”
Under the EPI, parity employers will be required to increase their own purchasing from Indigenous businesses.