Release type: Joint Media Release

Date:

Jobs and sustainable communities for people in remote Australia

Ministers:

The Hon Jenny Macklin MP
Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Minister for Disability Reform
The Hon Julie Collins MP
Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Financial Services and Superannuation

The Australian Government today announced significant changes to remote employment and community development services to help more people get into jobs and participate in their community.

From 1 July 2013, the new $1.5 billion Remote Jobs and Communities Program will provide a more integrated and flexible approach to employment and participation services for people living in remote areas of Australia.

The Remote Jobs and Communities Program will see jobseekers assisted by a single provider with a permanent presence in their region, ensuring they are getting better support to get the skills needed to get a job.

It will also ensure people who are not working are participating in activities that contribute to developing strong and sustainable communities.

Consultations held last year in remote communities across remote Australia last year found that current services are providing short term help but are not delivering the long term results that are needed.

People told us they want to see one employment services provider in their community, offering better training and support to get local people into jobs. A job contributes strongly to personal, social and economic development and is essential to closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage.

This new program will build on the strengths of existing employment and participation and community programs, while providing a more flexible and responsive service to better meet the needs of people living in remote Australia.

The four main programs currently delivering employment and participation services and community development in remote Australia - Job Services Australia, Disability Employment Services, Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) and the Indigenous Employment Program – will be rolled into the new integrated service.

The key features of the new program are:

A single, local point of call for job seekers

Jobseekers in remote areas will be assisted by a single Remote Jobs and Communities provider with a permanent presence in the region. This will provide people with better service on the ground, rather than the fly-in-fly-out support that currently operates in many places.

Jobseekers will get personalised support from this single, local point of call, ensuring they are assisted to have the right skills needed to match local job opportunities.

Better support to get people ready for work and strengthen communities

Communities in remote Australia have told us that people need support to get job ready.

We want people to get the skills they need, while also benefitting their community. We know that some people are currently not participating in meaningful activity and that participation activities haven’t always worked to strengthen communities or build the skills people need.

To achieve this:

  • Remote Jobs and Communities providers will work in partnership with the community to develop a Community Action Plan, which sets out employment, economic and community development goals.
  • A new flexible $508 million Participation Account will allow Remote Jobs and Communities providers to develop activities that help people get ready for work and also benefit their community, such as local social enterprises.
  • The Participation Account will also allow Remote Jobs and Communities providers to support people to overcome barriers to employment, with services such as literacy and numeracy training or support to tackle alcohol and drug abuse.
  • A new $240 million Community Development Fund will support meaningful participation projects developed by the community to get people ready for work.

The ‘No Show No Pay’ rule will be applied in remote areas. People who fail to participate will have their payments suspended.

Local service providers

To ensure strong local involvement, we want to see Indigenous and other organisations with a connection to the community taking up the opportunity to become Remote Jobs and Communities providers.

Providers will be offered a five year funding agreement, with options for further extensions up to five years, to give greater certainty to providers and communities.

We will provide $15 million to help strengthen local Indigenous organisation’s governance and capacity in the lead up to the model commencing on 1 July 2013.

A strong pathway to employment for young people

A new flagship program for youth, Remote Youth Development and Leadership Corps for people aged under 25, will provide 3,000 young people each year with a clear pathway to employment.

Building on the success of the Indigenous Rangers program, the Remote Youth Development and Leadership Corps will provide a nine to twelve month program geared towards making a successful transition from school into real employment opportunities for young people.

It will focus on providing work-experience in jobs that are available in or near their community. For example in mine regeneration work, office work, farm or station work, building and maintenance and environmental land management.

There will be mentoring by local leaders and training providing at the Certificate II level.

The Australian Government will be working with state and territory governments and employers to provide employment opportunities for Youth Corps participants.

CDEP wages

Eligible people who, under grandfathered arrangements, are currently still receiving CDEP wages will continue to receive wages for the first five years of participation in the new model. These people have been participating in CDEP for long periods of time, since before 2009, and many face significant barriers to employment.

There are currently about 500 participants in CDEP activities outside the 65 Remote Service Regions, where Job Services Australia contracts are in place until 30 June 2015. The Government will provide $2.5 million to ensure these communities continue to have access to participation activities delivered through Job Services Australia providers.

The Government would like to thank all the people and communities who participated in the extensive consultations that helped to shape this new model.

We also thank the members of the Remote Participation and Employment Services Panel for their work in driving the consultation process.