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Fujitsu Australia Chairman launches strategy to promote indigenous participation in the ICT industry

Fujitsu Australia Limited

Sydney, September 20, 2001

The Minister for Reconciliation and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Philip Ruddock, and the Chairman of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC), Geoff Clark, today applauded the launch of a strategy which will promote Indigenous participation in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry.

The "Networking Our Futures" strategy will seek to create training, education and employment opportunities for Indigenous people in the ICT sector and encourage Indigenous people to make use of these opportunities.

The strategy has been driven by Neville Roach AO, the Chairman of the Council for Multicultural Australia and Chairman of Fujitsu Australia.

The Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs' Living in Harmony project has provided a $50,000 grant while ATSIC will contribute $40,000.

"The project we are launching today truly represents the way forward in Indigenous policy, " Mr Ruddock said.

"It builds on an initiative announced by the Minister for Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business, Tony Abbott in July 2001.

"It is not just the way forward because we are dealing with new technology and innovations in industry - it is also because it marries education and training directly with employment outcomes. This is an example of where so much of the future opportunity for Indigenous employment now rests - with the private sector."

Mr. Roach said the ICT industry has a social responsibility to Australia, particularly those who are disadvantaged and have to overcome social, economic or educational barriers to enjoy the benefits of the new technologies.

"Professionals and managers in the ICT industry, including CEOs and CIOs, must become more interested and involved in social responsibility initiatives, particularly those that focus on the needs of Indigenous Australians," he said

"I am passionate in my desire for reconciliation in Australia. This initiative is one small way of helping to address the ongoing disadvantage suffered by Indigenous Australians."

Mr Clark said that the tiny number of Indigenous students in IT-based courses throughout the country carry a great responsibility.

"They are pathfinders, but they carry a double burden," he said.

"They are role models for their communities but they also need to break through barriers to the employment of Indigenous people in IT industries. Their efforts will lay the foundations for future Indigenous careers.

"It's our task to ensure that these young people - and their younger brothers and sisters inspired by them - have the freedom to choose careers in the IT sector. It's up to us to ensure that they are not unfairly excluded from their choice of career because of institutionalised poverty, racism or denial of culture."

A key element "Networking Our Futures" is the establishment of a joint secretariat with the Australian Information Industry Association and Indigenous representatives to develop a strategy for greater employment and training opportunities.

"At the end of last year, there were about 8000 Indigenous students in tertiary educations - of whom 107 were studying computer science, " Mr Ruddock said.

"On the other hand, there are more than 200,000 ICT jobs nationally and the sector is growing rapidly. The strategy will encourage Indigenous Australians to tap into this growth."

The Living in Harmony initiative challenges Australians to take a stand against racism and intolerance. It celebrates racial, cultural, social and religious diversity and establishes partnerships with the corporate sector, community organisations and other levels of government. So far more than 25 partnerships have been established.

Media contacts

Martin Freckmann
Ph: 0427 631 045

Jeremy Chitty
Mr Ruddock's office
Ph: 0418 971 042

Ian Hetherington
Ph: 02 6264 4285

About Fujitsu Australia Limited

Fujitsu is one of the world's leading e-services organisations. Fujitsu technology solutions, from servers to e-Business applications, are powering the new Internet economy. In Australia and New Zealand Fujitsu is helping corporate and government customers to design, build and operate solutions which offer competitive advantage in the Internet world, from state-of-the-art infrastructure through to complex e-Business solutions. Our portfolio of IT services includes consulting, systems integration, prime contracting and a full range of professional services. Fujitsu Australia Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fujitsu Limited of Japan.
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About Fujitsu Limited

Fujitsu is a leading provider of Internet-focused information technology solutions for the global marketplace. Its pace-setting technologies, best-in-class computing and telecommunications platforms, and worldwide corps of systems and services experts make it uniquely positioned to unleash the infinite possibilities of the Internet to help its customers succeed. Headquartered in Tokyo, Fujitsu Limited (TSE:6702) reported consolidated revenues of 5.48 trillion yen for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2001.
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Company:Fujitsu Australia Limited

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Date: 20 September, 2001
City: Sydney
Company: Fujitsu Australia Limited