More than 1500 people have taken part in community consultations for the Federal Government's review into Indigenous training and employment programs.
By
Lindy Kerin

Source:
NITV News
22 Nov 2013 - 5:10 PM  UPDATED 22 Nov 2013 - 7:48 PM

The federal review team headed by mining magnate Andrew Forrest concluded their national tour in Melbourne today.

Mr Forrest said the review team was taking a whole new approach to Indigenous affairs,

"We know that we'll get the same result if we try and do more of the same so we've got to go different. We have to completely align training with employers. Trainers need to take risks like employers take risks,"Mr Forrest said.

There were no media allowed into the public forums, but according to Mr Forrest, one of the key themes to arise from the national tour was empowerment.

"We've got to bring community responsibility and empowerment back in, and there's a real sympathy from Canberra, Sydney, Kununurra to Darwin, that we need to release power out of centrally controlled and give it to communities, but hold communities accountable," he said.

Discussions about improving school attendance rates to boost job readiness and getting rid of housing related disincentives to work were also had on the tour.

"Many people have raised with us that if they go into a job they might all of a sudden go into the income threshold so they might lose their house, and so people have told us directly that they don't take a job or they even drop out of a job in order to keep their house," Parliamentary Secretary Alan Tudge said.

After today’s discussions in Melbourne, Mr Tudge denied claims that the review was just another "talk fest".

"To start with, we've got a prime minister who is very serious about making this one of his top priorities. Secondly we've got Mr Forrest who is a very senior businessman, a person who has already made an enormous difference in this space, who is also very serious about making significant changes, and thirdly we've got the most senior, most important department in the federal public service, the deputy prime minister and cabinet, backing up this review team. It’s a very serious review, the government's very serious about listening to what the review team comes up with and making a difference because we have too," Mr Tudge said.

The review team will visit regional and remote areas of Australia in the coming weeks and report to the Prime Minister in April next year.

Submissions for the review must be lodged by the end of December.