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A document prepared for the Victorian State Services Authority.


This paper was completed under contract to the State of Victoria through the State Services Authority. It draws on recent Victorian, Australian, and international literature in order to provide an overview of the barriers to, and drivers of successful workforce participation for Indigenous Victorians. Some barriers and drivers are generic, and thus apply to most people; other barriers and drivers are specific to Indigenous Australians; a few barriers and drivers apply specifically to Indigenous Victorians. The disadvantage that accrues from Indigenous unemployment is unrelenting and immense. This disadvantage may well become worse as the Indigenous .baby boom. increasingly reaches working age . it has been described as a potential time-bomb. There are devastating effects of unemployment on Indigenous people in terms of their access to the full range of life chances in Australian society. A low Indigenous employment rate is generally seen as an underlying factor of Indigenous poverty, poor health and emotional well-being, inadequate housing, and low participation and attainment in education. There are also economic costs to the broader community of Indigenous unemployment. Social disharmony and cultural deprivation is experienced by all Australians when Indigenous unemployment rates remain at low levels. Summaries of two key evaluations of the effectiveness of Indigenous employment policies demonstrate clearly that there are barriers to Indigenous employment that have persisted over time.