James Packer - Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest Indigenous Employment Tag Team, by Greg Tingle - 6th July 2011

James Packer - Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest Indigenous Employment Tag Team, by Greg Tingle - 6th July 2011

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Australian gambling news continues to run thick and fast. We've got the James Packer - Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest Indigenous employment tag team via Generation One, political fun and games, revamps, and more. Media Man with the latest and greatest from down under...

Packer Casino - Forrest Mining Indigenous Employment Tag Team...

James Packer, Australian casino king is employing hundreds of Indigenous Australians in his casinos, with plans to employ thousands, following the lead of his mate, mining magnate Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest.

Packer continues to lay on the praise to Andrew Forrest for his considerable efforts and results in improving the lives of Indigenous Australians, namely via sustainable employment opportunities, education and training.

The word "hero" has even been used by JP when describing "Twiggy".

Melbourne was the sight for a Generation One get together and talk fest yesterday where it was formally announced that Packer's casinos would aim to employ 2000 indigenous Australians by 2021.

It's all part of Packer's backing for Forrest's Australian Employment Covenant. Forrest's vision, shared by mate Packer, is to create 50,000 indigenous jobs. Packer went on record that indigenous employees had "significantly strengthened" his Crown and Burswood casinos in Melbourne and Perth.

"We are committed to continuing our work in this area".

"Our recent experience with employing indigenous Australians at Crown and Burswood has shown they significantly strengthen our businesses."

Crown Limited was one of the very first signatories to Forrest's Employment Covenant. Forrest recently declared business had committed to employing 50,000 indigenous workers. It's understood that about 4000 people had scored jobs under the scheme thus far, so there's clearly more work to be done, and Forrest and Twiggy are focused on the goal, as are many of their business associates. Yes, our Media Man makes no secret of supporting Generation One either, with generous news media coverage and resources being generated on the initiative since their humble beginnings.

Forrest advised yesterday there needed to be greater effort put into training indigenous workers so they were job-ready.

"We know Australian employers want to employ indigenous Australians, but now we must ensure that the right training is available for indigenous people to be able to take up the amazing array of employment opportunities on offer through the 50,000 committed jobs," he said.

A Media Man spokesperson said "It's no secret that there's significant resources and lucrative profits in both the mining and gambling industry and its great that Mr Packer and Mr Forrest are putting their resources and unique positions of opportunity to good use. It would be easy for them to do nothing, but they are pro active in getting Indigenous Australians back to work. It makes business sense and it also comes from the right place. We think they are both heroes."

Fake Gaming Chips Spotted At Crown Casino...

Packer's Crown casino has snatched from the gaming floor its $500 gaming chips after more than $100,000 in counterfeit chips were seized at Melbourne airport. It is believed federal police are investigating whether an international counterfeiting ring is involved. Police found $103,500 in fake $500 Crown chips hidden in the luggage and clothing of an Australian bloke, aged 30, when his person was searched on June 23. The man, who arrived on a flight from Guangzhou, China, is yet to be charged with any offence as we go to press. Crown Casino powers that be are checking its stock of $500 chips to ensure the integrity of the tokens. Crown spokesman Gary O'Neill said the process of checking all the chips would take several days. "We were alerted by the AFP. The man had the chips and when we checked them we confirmed they were counterfeit," he said.

NRL Joins In Pokies Fight...

The Australian government and National Rugby League traded insults Monday over the allocation of poker-machine profits to lift rugby league clubs. Families Minister Jenny Macklin accused NRL clubs of being funded by "family misery" and "pokie addicts" and called on parents to refuse to tolerate it any longer. The government has been forced to introduce a mandatory pre-commitment cap for poker-machine players, or independent MP Andrew Wilkie will pull his support and the minority government will collapse. The move has been met with strong opposition by clubs and pubs and the NRL has now joined the campaign to block the move, warning it will hurt teams funded by clubs. NRL chief executive David Gallop compared it yesterday with the Melbourne Cup being subject to pre-commitment bets or caps on drinking. Ms Macklin fired back, saying footy teams were being funded by problem gambling and it must stop immediately. "No parent would support having another family's misery pay for their footy team," she told The Daily Telegraph. "We don't stand at the sidelines and watch our kids tackle high. And we shouldn't stand by and let pokie addicts pay for NRL clubs. That's not fair play." Ms Macklin has formally written to Mr Gallop saying the government is "disappointed" by the move. Mr Gallop said the move could cause real damage to football, and there was no solid evidence it would stop problem gambling. "Our leagues clubs were set up to support our game and our clubs are genuinely concerned at the ramifications of these changes both for NRL and junior rugby league clubs," he said. "Kids get to play our game because of the subsidies provided by leagues clubs. "The comments reflect that this is a highly political issue for the government but that should not stop people looking at the potential damage this may cause and that there's real doubt about whether the changes will work." Anti-pokies campaigners, and one may argue, "haters", Nick Xenophon and Tim Costello accused the NRL of "perpetuating lies" by supporting a campaign against gambling caps. They accused the NRL of "shocking" behaviour. Media Man spot surveys conducted over the past few years have shown that 7 out of 10 Australians are "not against gambling" but are away that "a small amount of people develop gambling problems".

$700m Stadium To Be Built Next Door To Perth's Burswood Casino...

James Packer's Burswood casino in Perth will reap massive benefits from a final decision by the Barnett government to build the state's new football stadium on its doorstep. Premier Colin Barnett yesterday defied the recommendations of a taskforce to announce the $700 million multi-purpose stadium would be built at Burswood on the banks of the Swan River. He said another $300m would be spent upgrading infrastructure to improve access to the site, which is a brief walk from the casino. That includes a new pedestrian bridge over the Swan to link the CBD to the area so people can walk to the stadium, a new four-platform rail station, possible ferry access and road realignments. The Premier conceded the plan would benefit the casino, which is midway through a $500m upgrade, including installing hundreds more gaming machines after an agreement last year to pay the government a $20m fee and higher taxes in return for the expansion. Barnett said he had not discussed the stadium with Packer, except in a brief "casual" conversation when he told him it was the favoured site and likely to be built there. "He (Mr Packer) said, 'That will be good', and that was about it'," the Premier said. Construction of the new 60,000-seat football stadium will not begin for several years, and is not expected to be finished until early 2018. Barnett said the facility would be world-class and become the centrepiece of a new entertainment precinct. It would also cater for concerts and other sports. A spokesperson for Burswood said the group had not been asked for any financial investment in the relocation and construction of the stadium. Barnett pointed to the state's scandal-plagued WA Inc era as the reason for not asking Crown to contribute. "I . . . have a very long memory of the scandals in West Australian politics, and you don't mix business with public investment," he said. But Labor spokesman Roger Cook criticised the project, and said it was "a triumph for Colin Barnett's arrogance". "I think it would be extraordinary that the government would put a major piece of social infrastructure, upgrade all the road and rail infrastructure in the area, without approaching the casino for a contribution" towards the cost," he said.

Online Gambling Review Goes Ahead...

The last main link in the chain to online sports betting in Australia - betting during a match...could soon be lifted and deliver lucrative royalties to major sporting codes under changes being considered by the Australian government. Australia's major sports bodies, including the NRL, AFL, tennis and cricket, are lobbying hard to end the online in-play betting ban and the Gillard government has agreed to review the law. The move comes just 12 months after the government rejected a recommendation by the Productivity Commission to allow the "liberalisation of online gambling", and amid growing community concern about the link between gambling and sport. The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy has been instructed to review Australia's online gambling laws and in-play betting is expected to be a key focus. Australia's major sports are calling for online gambling laws to be eased. ''Australia is the only jurisdiction in the world that allows online wagering on sport but at the same time prevents punters from using the internet to place in-play bets,'' a recent anti-corruption report adopted by major sports bosses said. ''The prohibition on in-play betting limits the funding opportunities available to Australia's sports. On international soccer markets … about 75 per cent of bets are made in-play, while for tennis about 90 per cent.'' The Australian Crime Commission has warned online gambling ''is an identified money laundering risk and increasingly is also acknowledged as a risk for revenue and taxation fraud''. In a submission released by a federal parliamentary committee also considering online gambling, the commission also warned ''Australia's criminal networks are able to identify and exploit opportunities for profit'' and ''this makes professional sport an attractive target''. ''It is well established that horse racing in Australia has been infiltrated by organised crime, with significant amounts of money being laundered through the horse racing industry,'' it found. ''This is occurring despite significant resources being devoted to monitoring the integrity of racing.'' The report found the integrity of professional sports had been compromised internationally, citing:

-Italian mafia and the fixing of soccer matches in Series A.

-Eastern European criminal groups fixing soccer matches.

-Russian organised criminal groups in soccer and ice hockey.

-Chinese organised crime or triads in large scale illegal gambling and match fixing of soccer throughout south-east Asia.

The commission said "the use of online gambling to facilitate criminal activity, predominantly money laundering, is a key vulnerability". A spokesman for Communications Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, said Australia's interactive gambling laws had not been reviewed since 2005. "Given this and the rapid changes in technology, the government felt it was time for a comprehensive look at the effectiveness of the legislation."

Punters, er readers, stay glued to Media Man reports for more "can't miss" information on Australian pokies, gaming and casino wars.

*Media Man is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. They cover a dozen industry sectors including gaming.

*The writer owns shares in Crown Limited


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