Australian Gambling: James Packer Vows to Help Jobless, by Greg Tingle - 22nd February 2010

Australian casino king and major media player, James Packer, has vowed to help ease plight of Australia's jobless.

Entitled the Australian Employment Covenant, the Rudd government-backed initiative aims to find 50,000 jobs for indigenous Australians. As the project rolls out Australia will get to know it as Generation One.

In an extremely rare interview, Linda Silmalis of News Limited's The Sunday Telegraph was able to secure a telephone interview with Mr Packer.

The casino comeback king wouldn't be pushed on politics (recently enjoying a spot of golf with Sen. Stephen Conroy might do that to a man), but he opened right up when it came to social and community matters, with a focus on getting Indigenous Australians sustainable employment.

The Packer empire includes Australia's Crown Casino, Burswood Entertainment Centre, City Of Dreams, Macau and Altira Macau. Mr Packer also has a share in pay TV operator, Foxtel.

Crown Casino is strongly indicating it will employ a significant number of indigenous Australian and Team Packer is also communicating with corporate Australia on how they can be part of this historic project.

Packer is collaborating with Aussie mining king Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest. A bush tucker bag of other great Aussie's are also assisting including but not limited to News Limited chairman Rupert Murdoch, Seven Network boss Kerry Stokes, and of course wife, Erica Baxter. Murdoch did some historic campaigning for Indigenous Australia whilst editor of Adelaide's The News circa 1959, later being showcased in modern classic, 'Black and White'.

There's considerable resources at hand, and by Packer speak, this is a hand up, not a hand out. However, to kick-start things Kerry Stokes and Packer are both putting in $2 million for a start.

In the telephone interview with Linda Silmalis of The Sunday Telegraph, "Kerry and I are each putting in $2 million to the project and we're doing it because we believe in Andrew's vision.

"It is not another welfare program. Both the Covenant and Generation One are about getting actual outcomes. We have actually got some bona fides in this area - Crown is already up to 75 jobs. We want to get it up into the hundreds.

"The goal is to work with people in businesses to try to get training and job placements.

"When someone gets training within a specific business, it makes it far more likely they will get a home in that business."

"I think with anyone, when they have a child, it opens up a new dimension to your life".

"I got to spend a year in the Northern Territory as a jackeroo and that gave me exposure to the way some Aboriginal communities are that others never get.

"I got to see good things and some not so good things. I always had a desire to do something, but I needed the right opportunity, and Andrew's vision and infectious enthusiasm made it easy for me to become involved.

"Andrew and I went to see Kerry Stokes, and we said, 'We'd love you to do this with us', and he agreed.

"At the casino, we are training people in hospitality, in security, areas where it will lead to jobs. I think corporate Australia wants to do more and it will become easier as more people become involved.

"It is a good concept and I think it will become easier as time goes on."

Media Man applauds the Packer - Forrest and friends collaboration that clearly demonstrates a far reaching way of demonstrating one's real wealth. We are also hopeful that both the Labor and Liberal party pick up on some of Mr Packer's wisdom when it comes to matters such as the internet and censorship. Mr Packer famously said "Internet is like electricity", something Media Man and Gambling911 management and readers are well aware of, as is Senator Conroy. As of this writing Sen Conroy has remained silent on mentions of himself in comparisons with award winning documentary, 'Casino Jack and the United States of Money'.

On a lighter note Sen. Conroy has turned out to be quite the sportsman, not only a keen golfer, but a passionate snowboarder, even getting a trip away to enjoy the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Let's just hope that Conroy's recent collaborations with Team Packer and friends help produce some gold for many parties, starting with both indigenous Australia and internet gaming fans and entrepreneurs. Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi!

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*The writer owns shares in Crown Limited

*Media Man is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. http://www.mediamanint.com

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