Yilabara Solutions will work with thousands of Aboriginal job seekers in Yuin Country (Illawarra South Coast) after being awarded an Indigenous specialist licence to deliver Workforce Australia services.

Yilabara will soon operate in five new locations with offices in Wollongong, Dapto, Shellharbour, Nowra and Batemans Bay.

Workforce Australia is a Federal Government program to assist jobseekers.

Yilabara Solutions chief executive Matthew Clarke said the licence was a landmark moment for Aboriginal communities.

“It represents a step forward in government trusting Aboriginal organisations to deliver employment services to our communities,” he said.

“Every report says the same thing – if we are to close the gap then we need to have Aboriginal controlled organisations leading these programs.”

Mr Clarke said the licence and expansion of their operations was a big step towards achieving economic independence.

The transition of participants to Workforce Australia will occur in July.

Mr Clarke said Aboriginal communities in Illawarra and the NSW South Coast had unemployment rates as high as 21 per cent.

“Our first step is to get down there, listen to community and make sure that we give them a voice,” he said.

“Part of our role is getting out there and talking to industry and building strong relationships.”

Yilabara was established by the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council in 2019.