LEICHHARDT MP Warren Entsch is urging local Indigenous leaders and community members to respond to the Forrest Review into Indigenous jobs and training before the initial consultation period ends on 20th September.
“This is a comprehensive report that draws upon Andrew Forrest’s own experience in employment and training of indigenous people, as well as input from respected indigenous leaders and public consultations,” Mr Entsch said.
“I congratulated Mr Forrest on his work when I met him in Canberra last week however I cautioned that the challenge will be in the implementation.”
Mr Entsch said it was unacceptable that despite spending billions of dollars to end Indigenous disadvantage, there is still a massive 30 percentage point employment gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians (46% compared to 76%).
· More indigenous people are dependent on welfare than employment for their income;
· Only 30% of working age indigenous adults in remote areas are working compared to 83% of non-indigenous in the same areas;
· Only 18% of indigenous 17-24 year olds in remote areas are in full time work or training compared to 78% of non-indigenous young people in the same areas; and
· By the time they are 15 years old, Indigenous students are, on average, 2-3 years behind in literacy, science and mathematics.
“Indigenous employment is one of the three priorities of the government, together with getting kids to school and ensuring the law of the land is obeyed in remote communities,” Mr Entsch said.
“However, little will be achieved without the absolute support and engagement of our indigenous communities and their leaders.
“Today, I have written to all the Mayors of communities around Leichhardt asking them to carefully consider the report and provide feedback on its recommendations and, specifically, how they feel they could be best implemented in their communities.
“The reality is that every community on Cape York and the Torres Strait is unique and has different challenges and opportunities ? there can be no ‘one size fits all’ approach.
“The six week discussion period is coming to an end on September 20th so it’s critical that people ? including members of the public, Indigenous leaders, land councils, employers and welfare organisations – have their say as soon as possible.”
The Government will consider the full report carefully before responding. In addition, the Prime Minister will establish a cross-portfolio Implementation Feasibility Taskforce which will oversee the consultations and carefully examine the full suite of recommendations.
The Taskforce will also take into account other related reports such as Productivity Commission’s inquiry into Childcare due in October, and the McClure Review.
The Forrest Review is available online at http://indigenousjobsandtrainingreview.dpmc.gov.au/, submissions can be made via the website and please send Mr Entsch a copy at firstname.lastname@example.org