Improving employment and participation in remote Australia

Release Date: 
14 December 2017
Media release

The Australian Government has announced options to further improve employment and participation in remote communities with the release of a discussion paper on future arrangements for the Community Development Program (CDP).  

The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, today announced the start of a formal consultation on a new employment and participation model for remote Australia.

“Supporting people in remote Australia to gain skills and find jobs delivers many benefits - for themselves, their families and the broader community,” said Minister Scullion. 

“I am committed to ensuring job seekers in remote Australia are supported to get the training and work experience they need to transition into a job and make a contribution to their community. 

“It is essential that reforms are developed in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and remote communities, so I encourage people to share their views. 

“The discussion paper explores how to grow the remote labour market, provide more incentives to job seekers, give communities more control and greater decision-making, and improve the support available to job seekers so they can move from welfare and into work.

“Options include a tiered remote job service model that includes:

  • A more simplified system, relying less on a national welfare system, and more on local control and decision making.
  • Reinvesting any efficiencies back into communities, for example through ‘top up’ arrangements for job seekers. 
  • A wage-based or ‘wage-like’ model providing weekly payments to job seekers.
  • Streaming jobseekers to enable tailored assistance according to need.
  • Establishing better arrangements for job training and a pathway to real employment. 
  • Encouraging businesses to hire and invest in local people.
  • Delivering subsidised labour for contracting opportunities, while not crowding out existing investment and jobs.
  • Increasing the number of Indigenous owned and controlled organisations providing services under CDP. 
  • Supporting Indigenous enterprise development, particularly in the delivery of Commonwealth contracts. 

The consultation will help guide the development of a new employment and participation model expanding on the success of the CDP.  

“The CDP has supported remote job seekers into over 21,000 jobs and overturned the failures of Labor’s Remote Jobs and Communities Program (RJCP) which saw attendance under the program drop to 6 per cent. 

“However, more needs to be done to maintain the momentum to get people into work. 
The discussion paper outlines three potential options to for discussion. These are an improved version of the current CDP to provide more tailored support, a model based on the CDP Reform Bill introduced in 2015 and a wage-based model. 

“I am committed to a broad consultation and will continue to engage on remote employment widely, including with remote communities, job seekers, the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council, Empowered Communities leaders and CDP providers.

“This consultation has been ongoing since I became Minister and I will continue to consult in the months ahead,” Minister Scullion said today.

The Remote Employment and Participation discussion paper is available at:  

Submissions to the consultation are open until 5:00pm EST, Friday 9 February 2018.