Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Building skilled Australians in remote Indigenous communities

The Australian Government is investing $172.4 million over three years to help build the skills of Indigenous Australians through a range of training, mentoring and community development projects across 500 remote Indigenous communities.

This initiative builds on major reforms to the Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) program and the Indigenous employment services introduced in July 2009.

Employment contributes strongly to personal, social and economic development.

This funding will assist 63 CDEP providers across Australia employ community development officers, mentors and coaches to help people participate in training and work-readiness activities.

It will help cover the fit-out of training facilities with proper equipment, provide accommodation for visiting trainers and establish new training centres to give Indigenous Australians the skills and training they need to get and keep a job.

For example, in areas where the mining industry offers employment opportunities training could include training in heavy machinery operation.

The other key focus is helping communities plan local projects that foster the personal responsibility that is essential to build strong, healthy and safe communities.

Some of the local projects which will be supported include developing community farms and market gardens, restoring historic and culturally significant sites and refurbishing women’s centres.

Indigenous job seekers are also supported by an expanded Indigenous Employment Program and the reformed Job Services Australia.

The significant reforms to Indigenous employment services introduced last year are focused on ensuring more Indigenous Australians have the skills needed to get and keep a job.

Under the changes to CDEP in remote communities, organisations are focused on improving work-readiness services and delivering community development projects.

All CDEP participants are registered with Job Services which is responsible for helping individuals to find and keep a job.

Job Services is encouraged to refer job seekers from remote regions to CDEP for work experience, training and to participate in community development projects.

These reforms are key to making progress on the Government’s target of halving the employment gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a decade.

A full list of successful organisations is available on the FaHCSIA website.