Ms. Julia Gillard
Prime Minister of Australia
Dear Prime Minister,
We refer to the report below for your information.
Rio Tinto is to be congratulated for raising its concern about the way the original owners of this land have been treated by the racist Howard and your governments. It is easy to just say "Sorry" but no action taken.
How low can a rich nation be?
When are you going to do something about it?
We look forward to hearing from you soon.
Unity Party WA
Rio scolds Canberra over indigenous jobs
Patricia Karvelas - The Australian - January 14, 2011 6:33AM
MINING giant Rio Tinto has urged the Gillard government to overhaul its Aboriginal policies.
It wants to create more economic opportunities for indigenous Australians.
In a submission responding to the government's proposed economic development strategy, Rio Tinto warned governments were dropping the ball, while mining companies were picking up the key role of education and training, and that reliance on mining was "not sustainable".
"Governments at all levels need to play a more significant role, in partnership with industry and the local community, in supporting indigenous communities," it said.
The submission warned that while mining companies had been increasing employment opportunities for indigenous people, these initiatives could not translate into social and economic prosperity for indigenous Australians "until a more co-ordinated, systemic approach is developed that will address the basic needs of indigenous people living in remote indigenous communities".
"Whilst Rio Tinto is committed to working in partnership with other organisations and agencies, the reality is that the company has been bearing the load on behalf of many government departments that are underfunded and do not have the resources to provide the required levels of service," it said.
The mining giant made several substantial recommendations, all requiring a big boost in government investment. Rio wanted more investment in areas such as work readiness training, driver training and licensing.
On education policies, Rio called for the biggest overhaul in government policy, arguing too often education was not aligned to industry requirements and students were not well prepared for work once they left school.
They wanted school terms that were better aligned with the seasons and the life cycle of the indigenous communities; hostels and safe houses for children; and culturally appropriate teaching materials and curriculum.
Rio called for more incentives for teachers to remain in remote teaching positions for longer periods. They also suggested regional centre hostel accommodation for indigenous students be established.
Rio Tinto complained that the TAFE system and the training it offered was not aligned to local employment and industry needs.
Because few arrangements were made to bring trainers to mining regions, trainees had to travel long distances away from their families to meet off-the-job learning commitments.
"Standard funding formulae mean that the provision of many training courses in the areas in which Rio Tinto mines are located is deemed to be uneconomic," the submission said.
"User-choice funding is state-territory based and is not transferable across state boundaries, which means that indigenous employees in the Kimberley cannot undertake their training in the Northern Territory, even though this is the closest training facility for them."