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Muso's pitch for work and genuine change

Muso's pitch for work and genuine change


From:The Australian 

April 27, 2013 12:00AM

JEREMY Donovan has vowed to put indigenous reform and jobs at the centre of the federal election campaign in his new role as national ambassador for GenerationOne.

The internationally renowned didgeridoo player will push the Gillard government to accelerate reforms to end the disparity between black and white Australians.

Donovan said Australian political leaders must be prepared to try radical new approaches to end welfare dependency and try new regimes that fundamentally changed indigenous people's lives.

Indigenous people would have their lives transformed only through education and work. "Culture isn't a cape, it's something that runs inside us. Irrespective of the work you are doing, whether it is working in Woolworths or working in other countries not your own, your culture goes with you everywhere," he said.

"When I was playing didgeridoo overseas, I didn't feel less connected from this country."

In the same week indigenous leader Warren Mundine resigned as GenOne chief executive, the organisation established by minining magnate Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest appointed Donovan.

Donovan has family from the Kuku Yalanji/Nyungkal people of far north Queensland and the Gumbaynngirr people of the mid-north coast of NSW, and four children under 11.

He told The Weekend Australian jobs and education were the key to indigenous people's emancipation and he wanted to demonstrate that culture could live within -- even if indigenous people left their homes for jobs in the mainstream. "We are driving and pushing for governments to really support our vocational training and employment centres models. This concept does work and it's been proven."

Governments needed to respond to the demand of employers by providing training tied to a real job, he said.

Welfare didn't give people the opportunity for self-empowerment. "I look at this just with my own children.

"If I get my children to help me do the yard to help them earn pocket money to then buy what they would like to buy, they appreciate what they are buying so much more.

"It's the way I live my life with my own children. It's about the values you instil from a young age. When you work for your income, it gives us pride and self-worth."

He said there was a great need for Aboriginal Australians to redefine their identities built on pride and success.

"I don't believe that we yet have the right solution (on welfare reform)," he said.

"We need to explore all options that can best benefit individual communities and look at their geographic positioning and what is around them."