Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Minister listens to locals on Indigenous employment programs

Joint Media Release with:

  • Warren Snowdon MP, Member for Lingiari

Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, and Member for Lingiari, Warren Snowdon, today listened to feedback in Alice Springs on planned Indigenous employment programs reforms.

Ms Macklin said it was important to hear from locals on the planned employment programs reforms because they feed into the Government’s goal to close the employment gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

“We want an extra 100,000 Indigenous Australians to find and keep jobs over the next 10 years, and this requires major changes to Indigenous and mainstream employment services,” Ms Macklin said.

“Indigenous employment programs must create opportunities and give Indigenous people the skills and training needed to get and keep a properly paid job.”

The Government recognises that conditions differ greatly between remote and non-remote Australia and this requires new solutions tailored to local needs and local economies.

Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) will be reformed in Alice Springs, and CDEP positions that have supported the delivery of government services will continue to be converted to properly paid jobs.

Mr Snowdon said across the Northern Territory, more than 200 CDEP positions with Federal and State Government agencies have been identified as potential jobs.

“These are in the areas of sports and recreation, education, municipal services, arts centre support, broadcasting, language, rangers, night patrols and land management,” Mr Snowdon said.

A new community support program will be introduced to assist Indigenous job seekers access employment programs and other services.

On 6 October 2008, the Australian Government released a paper outlining the Government’s preferred model for Indigenous employment programs, Increasing Indigenous Employment Opportunity.

The proposed model includes reforms to CDEP and the Indigenous Employment Program (IEP).

Consultation sessions were organised in 57 locations around Australia, including capital cities and a number of remote communities, to enable people to talk through the changes and give people a chance to provide further feedback.

Around 50 people attended the consultation in Alice Springs, including CDEP providers from the Alice Springs region, Central Desert and McDonnell Shire, along with representatives from Community Enterprise Australia, Tangentyere and the Arrernte Council and CDEP participants.

Written submissions on the proposed changes can be provided until 7 November 2008.