Educate Aborigines in STEM skills to help them and the nation – by Andrew MacKenzie (The Australian – May 27, 2016)

Andrew Mackenzie is the chief executive of BHP Billiton.

The benefit that Australia stands to gain from making Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people part of the nation’s economic growth is an opportunity we can’t afford to miss.

On this day 49 years ago, Australians voted overwhelmingly to allow Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to be included in the census. It was Australia’s most successful referendum and the message of inclusion was made crystal-clear.

This time last year our company was one of a growing number of businesses that publicly stood up to support formal recognition of the first Australians in the Constitution. As we celebrate Reconciliation Week this year, I’m convinced there is more we can do to support a reconciled Australia.

One powerful way that businesses like ours can contribute is to make sure all Australians have the opportunity to share in our country’s growth and prosperity. That means having inclusive workforces and being supportive of diversity in all of its forms.

As Australia focuses on a more innovation-based economy how do we ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have the opportunity to participate on this journey?

As a scientist by trade I’m passionate about how important research is to drive our economic growth and therefore how important science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills are for business.

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