Media Release by Senator the Hon Mark Arbib

Government invests in innovative projects to get Australians into work

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Kate Ellis MP, The Hon Kate Ellis MP
  • The Hon Mark Butler MP, Minister For Mental Health And Ageing

Minister for Employment Participation and Child Care, Kate Ellis today announced funding for two innovative projects that will assist disadvantaged job seekers to overcome barriers to workplace participation.

The Staying Well project will help one hundred people living with mental illness in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne to find sustainable work opportunities.

The project will combine mentoring and community based assistance to complement specialist mental health services that the participants already receive. It will help people with mental illness to achieve significant improvements to their well being through fulfilling and sustainable employment.

Homeless men in regional Western Australia will also be supported to find jobs and reconnect with their communities through the Prospect House project, which aims to halve the rate of male homelessness in Albany.

Through Prospect House, 32 highly disadvantaged homeless men will have access to education, mentoring and social skills training. The project will also help participants move into transitional housing or the private rental market after completing a three-month intensive job placement program.

“As the Prime Minister has recently stated, Australia faces significant challenges going forward in terms of meeting the labour shortages we are beginning to experience,” Minister Ellis said.

“The mining boom coupled with our ageing population, mean that we must take action now to boost workforce participation and Australia’s economic growth into the future.”

The Australian Government is continuously working to find new ways to help Australians who have the capacity to work to enter the workforce.

Minister for Social Housing and Homelessness Mark Arbib welcomed the funding for the Prospect House project.

“Employment, education and vocational training outcomes must be at the centre of addressing homelessness and disadvantage,” Minister Arbib said.

“Homelessness is about much more than just shelter – it’s about providing all of the services people need to help them get back on track.”

Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler said that initiatives like the Staying Well project are vital in assisting some of the community’s most disadvantaged get back into the workforce.

“To be actively involved in productive work is a key component in ensuring good mental health as it aids recovery and has strong therapeutic value – even for those with chronic and persistent mental health conditions,” Minister Butler said.

People suffering from homelessness or living with mental illness often face multiple barriers to employment, including alcohol or drug addiction.

That is why the Government is investing in innovative projects that assist these individuals into employment and that meet their particular needs as job seekers.

“The reality is that the benefits and dignity that come with having a good job are unparalleled,” Ms Ellis said.

“A job brings with it a sense of pride, purpose and a connectedness with the community.”

The Staying Well and Prospect House projects will receive around $300,000 in funding from the Australian Government.

This funding is part of the third round of the $41 million Innovation Fund grants program, which aims to address the needs of the most disadvantaged job seekers through projects that foster innovative solutions to employment barriers.

For more information on the Innovation Fund, visit Job Services Australia.