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Rio Tinto Rails Against Australian Government’s Indigenous Employment Efforts

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Rio Tinto has criticized the Australian government’s Aboriginal employment efforts, reported ABC News.

The mining giant recommended the Julia Gillard Administration overhaul its Aboriginal policies in a recent statement, responding to the government’s proposed economic strategy. The company cited its increasing economic opportunities for the country’s indigenous population, stating it alone could not generate social and economic prosperity for Aboriginals, "until a more co-ordinated, systemic approach is developed that will address the basic needs of indigenous people living in remote indigenous communities,” reported The Australian.

Mining companies are compensating for education and training, said Rio Tinto, which heads an aboriginal education fund, according to its Web site. Mining giant BHP Billiton also runs an Australian mining academy for Indigenous trainees, reported ABC.

“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,” Rio Tinto said, according to The Australian.

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The mining giant recommended several new initiatives, which call for a substantial increase in government investment. Rio suggested increased funding for work readiness training, driver training and licensing, reported The Australian.

Regarding education policies, Rio addressed the need for a revamp of government policy. It argued education rarely met industry requirements, leaving graduates ill prepared for work.

“In the second quarter of last year, Rio employed 1,500 Indigenous people, which represents growth of over 22 per cent in 12 months,” reported The Australian.

Rio Tinto contends such growth cannot be reached on a broader scale until the government develops new solutions to the complex social issues plaguing individual Aboriginal communities.