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The Australian Employment Covenant.

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Prime Minister of Australia

Media Release

The Australian Employment Covenant

03 August 2008

The Australian Government today announced its support for a ground breaking new initiative, the Australian Employment Covenant.

The Australian Employment Covenant is a private sector initiative lead by Mr Andrew Forrest, the CEO of Fortescue Metals Group.

The Australian Employment Covenant will rally employers to commit to providing opportunities for 50,000 Indigenous Australians to step out of welfare and step up to permanent full time paying jobs.

Just as the Government has set targets to close the gap between Indigenous and non indigenous Australians, Andrew Forrest is going to ask Australian businesses to be similarly bold.

Under the Australian Employment Covenant, Indigenous Australians who want to work will be encouraged to opt out of the welfare system.

Indigenous Australians who decide to take this first step can then enrol in a short intensive training course that will get them ready for on-the-job mentoring with a participating employer.

Participating employers agree through the Australian Employment Covenant to employ Indigenous people qualified to the training-ready level.

The Government’s part of the bargain is to help bridge the training-ready gap. The Government will match this commitment with appropriate pre employment training.

Andrew Forrest and his steering committee - including Noel Pearson, Warren Mundine and Rod Eddington - will be encouraging every Australian employer to join them in tackling Indigenous unemployment in a way that only the private sector can - with real jobs.

The Government welcomes this imaginative and ambitious plan which will build on existing initiatives on the part of individual companies.

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