I had the honour of hearing an inspired presentation yesterday in Melbourne by Andrew Forrest on his proposals to "create parity" for indigenous people in Australia. The proposals aim to improve the health and education of indigenous people through hands on programmes that restore personal self esteem and offer employment prospects. Andrew Forrest's Fortescue Metals already spends well over A$1,000m on services from companies owned and run by indigenous people, and has seen first hand the major reductions in alcoholism, other drug problems, and in domestic violence as indigenous Australians gain employment and even run their own businesses. He has also seen improvements in health, well being, education and overall employment prospects of indigenous Australians.
Self help is the best helpIt is clear that Andrew Forrest has very wide support amongst indigenous Australians for his recommendations to be accepted. One such person here in Melbourne gave an impassioned plea for support for the recommendations. He said that his broad family of just over 200 had experienced the, mostly premature, deaths of 38 family members in the past decade. Alcoholism, drugs and domestic violence and near perpetual unemployment were standard in his family. I consider that this is a worthy issue deserving widespread support. The Forrest Report on Indigenous Jobs and Training Review provides 27 recommendations for consideration and adoption. Public comments on this Review are invited but the closing date is today Friday 26 September. I invite you to participate in this debate by visiting the website and making a submission. I suggest you do three things:-
- Read the PowerPoint Presentation summary
- Review (if you have the time) the full report.
- Visit the "how to get involved" section of the website and complete the “Have your say" form:
- fill in your name and email address
- Attach a Word document with your comments (I have provided such a document stating merely that "all recommendations be adopted")
- email the submission by following the link to attached the Word document