Saturday, August 17, 2013

Abbott calls in Forrest for indigenous jobs review - Sydney Morning Herald

Fortescue Metals Group CEO Andrew Forrest.

Fortescue Metals Group CEO Andrew Forrest. Photo: Jacky Ghossein

Tony Abbott has recruited Andrew ''Twiggy'' Forrest to spearhead a prime ministerial review of indigenous employment programs and has committed the Coalition to pouring $45million into the GenerationOne scheme the WA mining magnate helped found.

Campaigning in the Pilbara in WA's north late on Saturday, Mr Abbott said if he won office on September 7, he would move immediately to create up to 5000 new jobs for unemployed Aborigines.

Kevin Rudd launched GenerationOne with Mr Forrest in March, 2010 and the scheme subsequently included the Australian Employment Covenant to gain industry commitments for indigenous jobs.

On Saturday, the Opposition Leader said there was a great deal of goodwill for the programs and he wanted to do more.

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As prime minister, Mr Abbott would commission a review of indigenous employment programs to begin within one month of the election. The review would be headed by Mr Forrest, with the support of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

"The Coalition is a strong supporter of GenerationOne and the Australian Employment Covenant and we are committed to boosting job opportunities for indigenous Australians," Mr Abbott said.

"Since the inception of the Australian Employment Covenant, more than 60,000 jobs have been pledged by Australian businesses for indigenous Australians.

"This commitment will see indigenous Australians receive practical training with a guaranteed job at the end of it."

"It ensures attention is given not just to skills training, but practical life education and ongoing mentoring to make sure jobs are lasting and careers are developed."

The Prime Minister was in Adelaide to pledge $500 million to the struggling car manufacturing industry and has called on Mr Abbott to show similar support or explain how his budget cuts will affect the industry.

"Mr Abbott has got a new three-word slogan and you know what it is? It's 'cut, cut, cut'," Mr Rudd said.

"I care about auto industry jobs - pure and simple … does Mr Abbott care? I don't think so … ''

But the Opposition Leader said Labor was still being wasteful with its spending and he would not be doing the same.

Meanwhile, polling commissioned by Fairfax Media across hotly contested seats in both NSW and Victoria shows most voters do not believe Mr Abbott is sexist, despite him referring to a female candidate on Tuesday as having "sex appeal".

The ReachTel phone survey was conducted on Thursday night and polled more than 600 people in each of four carefully chosen NSW electorates.

In Bennelong 29.4 per cent of respondents said Mr Abbott was sexist on balance but 60.7 per cent said he wasn't.

In Blaxland 30.9 per cent said he was and 55.8 per cent said he wasn't. In Kingsford Smith the result was 36.2 per cent yes and 55.4 per cent no, while in McMahon 31.3 per cent said Mr Abbott was sexist and 56.2 per cent said he wasn't.

There were similar results in the Victorian electorates of Corangamite, Deakin and Indi.

But in the seat of Melbourne, which is currently held by Greens MP Adam Bandt, the survey polled 860 residents and found 56.2 per cent believed Mr Abbott was sexist, while 31.4 per cent thought he wasn't.


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