Mining magnate Andrew Forrest says billions of dollars have been wasted on unsuccessful Indigenous training and employment programs.
Lindy Kerin

15 Nov 2013 - 4:40 PM  UPDATED 15 Nov 2013 - 6:33 PM

The West Australian businessman was appointed by the federal government to head a review team in charge of boosting Indigenous employment.

Mr Forrest has officially begun his review and so far says existing programs aren't working.

"Well many people in government and semi government have been going out there, spending the public’s money and training Aboriginal people for jobs which may or most often not exist, and that's the kind of supply led airy fairy solution which has been successful in wasting billions of dollars and disenfranchising tens of thousands of Indigenous people," Mr Forrest said.

Mr Forrest has told the NITV Awaken program that training linked to a guaranteed job will offer more long-term success.

He cited his own company's work in providing 1000 jobs as an example of success.

However Mr Forrest said there were still many fundamental issues to overcome, including the culture of low expectations.

"Parents have not been expected to send their kids to school or to go to school and that's because of our low expectations. I believe there's an absolute obligation on parents to send their kids to school. Those kids go to school because they know ‘hey, there's got to be more to my life than flipping welfare at the end of the day’ here," Mr Forrest said.

Mr Forrest is a firm believer that Prime Minister Tony Abbott's review will provide government with the opportunity to consider new approaches to ending Indigenous disadvantage.

"Insanity is hoping for a different result but doing it the same way. I don't mind if you're Liberal or Labor or whoever you are, but I think today we've got a prime minister who's just stood up and said everything hasn't worked. We've got to try something different," Mr Forrest said.