The Minister for Employment Participation, Brendan O’Connor, today led consultation sessions on the future of employment programs for Indigenous Australians in Alice Springs today.
The consultations with employers and with community members centred around a discussion paper released last month by Mr O’Connor and Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin.
The paper encourages debate and ideas on economic development and jobs for Indigenous Australians. The Government is developing a new strategy to build strong foundations necessary for Indigenous economic development across Australia.
The paper focuses on reforms to existing Indigenous specific programs including Community Development Employment Program (CDEP) and the Indigenous Employment Program (IEP) in addition to the Government’s new universal employment services model.
"Indigenous employment participation is low and many communities cannot access job opportunities," Mr O’Connor said.
"Some of the questions posed in the discussion paper are not easy to answer, however we must tackle these issues to bring about meaningful reform."
Mr O’Connor said the paper was part of the Australian Government’s commitment to halving the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous employment.
"Significant reforms are needed to achieve this target and to close the gap. This wide-spread consultation process is an important step to future economic development and jobs for Indigenous people."
Since the paper was launched, public consultation sessions have taken place in 37 urban and regional locations across Australia and around 20 remote locations.
Additional sessions have now begun specifically for employers who play such an important role in Indigenous economic development.
Increasing Indigenous Economic Opportunity - A discussion paper on the future of the CDEP and Indigenous Employment Programsis available at www.indigenous.gov.au