We want GenerationOne to become a mainstream, grass roots movement. It is not the campaign of any party, persuasion or person - it is YOUR campaign.
It is financially supported by a number of business leaders such as Andrew and Nicola Forrest, James Packer, Kerry Stokes and Lindsay Fox and others who want to make a difference.
Almost all have been active in Indigenous employment already, but realise that real change only comes from ALL Australians getting involved. GenerationOne is for all Australians, Indigenous non-Indigenous Australians - together.
ANDREW FORREST - WHY I'M INVOLVED
Like many others, addressing the plight of Indigenous Australians has been a lifetime passion for me. When I grew up on a remote station, apart from my immediate family, I grew up with Aboriginal kids. My parents didn’t have the means to send me to a fancy school. Despite that, they and indeed many Indigenous parents had to send their children away for an education. That’s how, at age 9, I came to attend an Indigenous hostel in Carnarvon.
My mates, my mentors and my protectors were Indigenous. My virtual big brother was a fellow called Ian Black. An Indigenous guy who, like the others were often smarter than me and played sport better than me. However, they still gave me the opportunities courtesy of extended families. They didn’t. Despite his natural skills, Ian went from school to welfare and suffered under the racism of low expectations. Particularly his own. Its’ a long story, but an all too common one.
Sadly, now, many of my other Indigenous mates have also died, including Ian Black whose funeral I attended in 2008. I am all too tired of attending funerals for people who’d had bright stars in their eyes as young men and women and who deserved all the opportunities and life that real, sustainable jobs provide when coupled with the truth that our first Australians, like I learnt at school, can excel in these jobs if they have the encouragement and give their own personal commitment.
That's why it was such an important milestone when in 2008 then Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, endorsed the plan to create 50,000 job offers for Indigenous Australians. My heartfelt thanks to the many employers who have agreed to provide 27,000 vacancies for Indigenous people who commit to the training and personal application to take and make that job successful. While the journey unfolds, the reaction from the business community remains excellent.
As I get around, I have become even more enthused about the fact that Australians are unified around a desire to ensure that this is the last generation to suffer Indigenous disparity. You could see the passion and good will at the recent NRL All Stars vs Indigenous All Stars game. People were willing the Indigenous All Stars on. I suspect we can get the same cheers for every real job scored. A cheer for every kid who is not attending school who turns up. A cheer for every young person who wasn’t earning or learning who now does so.
However, it’s not just about cheering or about business. Many people want to help and say they didn't know how. Along with the many employers who want to help directly, and those organisations and volunteers who do a tremendous job mentoring and getting kids to school, it will take all Australians to achieve this important goal to end Indigenous disadvantage in our lifetime. My colleagues the Stokes family, Packer family, the Lowy family and the Fox family and I wanted to help even further by supporting GenerationOne. GenerationOne is the place for Australians to release their passion and support to end the disparity forever, particularly in education, jobs and job-ready training.