The Coalition Government will invest a further $9.5 million to expand mental health first aid training to 14 high-risk communities and staff working for remote employment service providers and community night patrols who have yet to receive it.
Speaking at the sixth Community Development Programme (CDP) Provider Business Meeting in Cairns today, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, said the training would equip the staff with the critical knowledge and skills to help jobseekers with mental health issues.
“This training will build on the Government’s $2.1 million investment in 2016 in the training that has already been delivered to the Groote Eylandt community, RSAS providers, CDP providers and night patrols in more than 60 remote locations across Australia,” Minister Scullion said.
“This is in addition to the $11 million the Government provided in the 2017-18 budget to develop and deliver youth engagement strategies to support young people who are falling through the gaps.”
Minister Scullion used his address to urge CDP providers to build on the programme’s success at delivering positive outcomes for remote jobseekers.
“Through your hard work, the CDP is having a transformational impact on thousands of remote jobseekers across the country – either helping them to get jobs or giving them the skills to take advantage of job opportunities as they arise,” Minister Scullion said.
“Your efforts and the efforts of other service providers across Australia have seen the CDP support remote jobseekers into more than 15,300 jobs and deliver more than 5000 six-month employment outcomes for jobseekers in remote communities.”
Today’s meeting was an opportunity for providers to have input into the development of an improved model for the delivery of remote employment services.
“We will be undertaking a consultation process in the coming months on a new employment and participation model for remote Australia in recognition that more work can be done to break the cycle of welfare dependency in remote communities and better tailor welfare arrangements,” Minister Scullion said.
“The model will be developed in partnership with remote communities and build on the success of the CDP and many of the positive elements of the former Community Development and Employment Programme, including local community control, weekly payments, top up arrangements to better support the transition to employment and more funding for local community activities.
“Many of the issues that need to be addressed through the new model have been inherited from Labor’s RJCP.
“The RJCP significantly increased the level of misery associated with passive welfare by allowing the jobseeker engagement rate to drop to around 5 per cent.”
The CDP Provider Business Meetings provide a regular forum for CDP providers to share best practice and collaborate to improve services for remote jobseekers.