26 September 2023

Opinions invited on outback job services

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The National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) has released a discussion paper inviting public comment on the Federal employment services delivered for people living in remote Australia.

Announcing the initiative, Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt said the New Remote Engagement Program Discussion Paper considered a suite of measures that could form a replacement for the Community Development Program (CDP) in 2023.

“Australia’s job landscape has changed significantly since the CDP was last reviewed in 2019,” Mr Wyatt said.

“With job creation being such a critical part of our economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, now is the time to reconsider how employment services are delivered and ensure they are fit-for-purpose.”

He said NIAA wanted new and innovative ideas to improve participation in employment programs and get people job-ready to take up opportunities when they presented themselves.

“We want to hear from job-seekers, communities, employers, industry groups and peak bodies about what is working well and what they’d like to see changed,” Mr Wyatt said.

He said the Discussion Paper coincided with the introduction of legislation to facilitate co-design in remote engagement program pilot sites.

Mr Wyatt said the Social Security Legislation Amendment (Remote Engagement Program) Bill 2021 created a supplementary payment for eligible job seekers who engaged in remote engagement program pilot sites.

He said that together with Job Seeker income support and other supplements such as rent assistance, it would be approximately equivalent to the minimum wage for the hours worked.

The Minister said eligible job seekers would participate in placements between 15 to 18 hours per week, with the experience aimed at enabling transition to paid employment.

He said the NIAA would also host a series of round-tables and information sessions virtually and in remote locations around Australia to seek feedback on the Discussion Paper and the proposed new engagement program.

Submissions close on 30 November and the 14-page Discussion Paper can be accessed at this PS News link.

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