Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Improving Indigenous lives through education and employment

Joint Media Release with:

  • Peter Garrett MP, Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth
    Senator Mark Arbib, Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development

Young Indigenous Australians will be encouraged to stay in school and to make the transition to work, through a $257.6 million investment in education and training.

To get young Indigenous people ready for work the Gillard Government will invest in education, training and employment programs to help people to get the skills they need to get a job.

A job gives purpose and meaning to people’s lives. The Government is also investing to help Indigenous job seekers find and keep a job.

We want to see more young people fulfilling their potential by staying in school and getting the education and skills they need to get a job.

Indigenous Youth Career Pathways Program

From the start of the 2012 school year, up to 6,400 Indigenous students will have the opportunity to get a school based traineeship as part of the $50.7 million Indigenous Youth Career Pathways Program.

As part of the traineeships young Indigenous people will receive personal mentoring and case management to help them deal with any underlying issues that may make moving from school to work difficult.

Participating employers will provide mentoring support and work experience and employment for the students who do a School Based Traineeship with them.

This program will also assist younger high school students to build their aspirations and provide mentoring and case management to encourage them to stay at school and get the skills they need for further education or to get a job.

Indigenous Ranger Cadetships

From the start of the 2012 school year, Indigenous students in six schools in regional and remote Australia, followed by a further six schools from the start of the 2013 school year, will have access to the Indigenous Ranger Cadetships initiative.

This $4.1 million (over three years) initiative gives Indigenous students the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge they need to become rangers with nationally-recognised qualifications.

Students will undertake a nationally recognised vocational education and training qualification at the Certificate II level, and will train in natural resource management, heritage and cultural studies.

This qualification will help them qualify for jobs in local land management initiatives for example with the Working on Country Indigenous Rangers program and the Indigenous Land Corporation.

This is part of the Government’s reforms to support Indigenous economic participation and employment.

Indigenous Education Targeted Assistance – extension

The Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Act 2000 (the Act) will be extended from the current 2009 – 2012 quadrennium to incorporate the 2013 calendar year.

The Government will provide an additional $171.3 million to continue the Act in 2013. This funding will be used to continue programs that target Indigenous students in schools across the country.

Currently a range of programs are delivered under the Act, including the Sporting Chance Program, the Indigenous Youth Leadership Program, the Indigenous Youth Mobility Program, the Parental and Community Engagement Program, Supplementary Recurrent Assistance for both non-Government VET and Early Childhood as well as ABSTUDY Away-From-Base payment.

Community Development Employment Projects program – eligibility for Approved Program of Works Supplement

To support Indigenous people looking for work, the Government will extend this fortnightly $20.80 supplement to eligible job seekers on income support payments who participate in Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) at a cost of $25.5 million over five years.

The payment of this supplement to CDEP participants will help them meet the cost of participating in activities and brings the payments into line with payments provided to job seekers in Work for the Dole and other employment programs.

The new arrangements will provide job seekers in remote areas with an additional incentive to participate in the CDEP program.

Improving Employment Services

Indigenous Australians will also benefit from the Government’s Building Australia’s Future Workforce package. We are providing $228 million for additional wage subsidies and support to help very long-term unemployed job seekers get involved in participation activities such as job training and Work for the Dole. About 17 percent of very long-term unemployed job seekers are Indigenous people.

In addition, $6.1 million is being provided to Jobs Services Australia to pilot culturally appropriate mentoring supports for Indigenous job seekers when they commence work. A further $1 million will allow greater flexibility for employment service providers in remote areas to work better with job seekers, many of whom are Indigenous, to secure sustainable jobs and meet employers’ needs

Indigenous Economic Development Strategy

The Indigenous Economic Development Strategy, which will be finalised later this year, will provide a framework for how the Government can better support greater economic participation and self reliance for Indigenous Australians.

The draft strategy focused on five key areas:

  • education and building the capacity of individuals;
  • creating sustainable job opportunities;
  • supporting business and enterprise development;
  • financial security and independence; and
  • strengthening foundations to provide an environment that supports Indigenous economic development.

A key priority of the draft strategy was to further support Indigenous youth to remain in school longer and gain the necessary skills to successfully transition to work.

Public consultation on the draft strategy confirmed that these are all critical areas where we need to focus government effort.

Reforming Remote Employment and Participation Services

The Government will consult with remote communities on the delivery of employment and participation services.

It builds on our existing commitment in the draft Indigenous Economic Development Strategy to strengthen employment services so that all Australians with the capacity to work, wherever they are located, are able to participate and contribute to their communities.

Remote communities, service providers, non-Government organisations and employers are encouraged to participate in the consultations, which will take place from June to August this year.

We urge people who work closely with job seekers in remote areas to provide their views on how employment and participation services can be enhanced to better meet the needs of remote communities.

The consultation will add to earlier feedback from employment and participation providers on new approaches to service delivery in remote Australia.

The unique nature of labour markets and the available workforce in remote Australia requires an innovative approach to improve economic participation and employment in those regions.

The best outcome is for local job seekers to fill local vacancies, but in areas where there are few jobs available, activities are needed to build the capacity of job seekers by helping them improve their skills and get them ready for work.

Details on the consultations will be released shortly.