Immediate changes to the Remote Jobs and Communities Programme (RJCP) will be made to ensure people in remote communities are engaged in training that leads to real jobs or participating in activities that benefit their communities.
Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister, Senator Nigel Scullion, said the RJCP was poorly designed and badly implemented by the former government.
“RJCP is a disaster. People aren’t turning up for work and are returning to alcohol. That’s why I’m acting quickly to re-engage people before it is too late,” Minister Scullion said.
“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.
“With Christmas coming, we can’t afford to have people disengaged and doing nothing for an extended period of time. This will only lead to greater drinking and hopelessness in communities.”
The Government will immediately improve the RJCP by:
• Re-opening access to the Indigenous Employment Programme (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;
“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,” the Minister 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,” the Minister said.
“These changes will help to reverse some of the design and implementation failures of RJCP, while Mr Andrew Forrest conducts an extensive review of Indigenous training and employment programmes.
“We need to ensure training and employment services are properly targeted at getting unemployed Indigenous people into real jobs.”
The $1.5 billion RJCP started on 1 July 2013 in 60 remote regions across Australia, replacing four previous employment services in remote Australia: the Community Development Employments Projects programme, Job Services Australia, the Indigenous Employment Programme, and Disability Employment Services.
RJCP currently provides services to 34,900 job seekers, most of whom are Indigenous.
These immediate changes to RJCP will be fully offset within existing funds.
Download media release:
2013-11-29 RJCP release.pdf