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13 August 2010

GenerationOne ideas forum, by Greg Tingle - The Bondi View - 12th August 2010

It wasn’t the first forum addressing Aboriginal disadvantage, nor will it be the last but this “talkfest” up the road at Moore Park, Fox Studios was effective.
For me it was personal.

Like GenerationOne founder and visionary, Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest (mining magnate billionaire) and his Bondi Beach-based mate, James “Casino King” Packer (currently sailing the high seas off Europe), I spent my formative youth around indigenous Australians.

I strongly agree with Twiggy’s comments that “the more you get to know Aboriginal people the more you love them”.

I believe GenerationOne will be successful. Why? Key people in GenerationOne are already employing thousands of Aboriginal people and plan to employ more. There’s no handouts here. Forrest, Packer and others help because it’s the right thing to do and its good business.

Twiggy has challenged politicians of all parties to help Indigenous people get into the Australian workforce. The mining king said he “wasn’t a bleeding heart”.

“Skilling up Indigenous people makes good business sense,” he told the Fox Studios audience last Thursday.

“Employment is the key to ending Indigenous disparity if the government encourages industries that can really make a difference – mining, tourism, construction, hospitality.

“If they encourage those industries to deliver training then other companies will have the faith to continue the employment.”

He said the government would need to provide funding or subsidise the costs of training.

Deputy chief executive of the Business Council of Australia, Melinda Cliento, also on the GenerationOne panel, said standards needed to be raised so indigenous children didn’t leave school and end up unemployed.

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