Coalition Overhauls Remote Indigenous Jobs Program
2 December 2013 at 9:38 am
The Federal Coalition Government has announced it will be making big changes to the Remote Jobs and Communities Program for indigenous employees, including pumping $40 million into re-opening the Indigenous Employment Program in remote areas.
The $1.5 billion RJCP started in July in 60 remote regions across Australia, replacing four previous employment services in remote Australia: the Community Development Employments Projects program, Job Services Australia, the Indigenous Employment Program and Disability Employment Services.
However, Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Senator Nigel Scullion said the RJCP was poorly designed and badly implemented by the former government.
“The design and implementation of RJCP was bungled by Labor, with the late announcement of providers, confusion over the funding model, and a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach that did not consider the differences between regions,” he said.
The Government says it will immediately improve the RJCP by:
• Re-opening access to the Indigenous Employment Program (IEP) in remote areas to support employers with real jobs;
• Engaging people who are not in a job or training in meaningful activities, with robust compliance measures. Providers will be supported to deliver these activities with an advance of the first 12 months of service fees;
• Using the Community Development Fund to assist providers in running rewarding activities, particularly in the weakest markets.
It says the immediate changes to RJCP will be fully offset within existing funds.
“The former government abolished IEP in remote areas. The Abbott Government has listened to employers and reinstated this program with up to $40 million in IEP funding to support real jobs for Indigenous people in remote areas,” Senator Scullion said.
“This move will encourage greater job opportunities for Indigenous people in areas like Uluru and mining across the country by allowing employers to access the IEP directly, rather than through the RJCP.”
Mining magnate Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest is currently leading an extensive review of indigenous training and employment programs.