Remote communities offer unique challenges that mean mainstream employment and participation solutions have historically fallen short of community expectations. Remote communities feature weaker labour markets, geographic dispersion, language and cultural differences and service delivery challenges. Furthermore, Government payments are the main source of income in many communities.
The Minister for Indigenous Affairs is committed to designing an improved, tailored solution for remote Australia as demonstrated by his decision to transition the delivery of remote employment services to Indigenous or local community organisations.
The minister’s vision is for a new model that is based on a set of objectives and key design principles that reflect ongoing feedback from stakeholders and communities on what they want. Minister Scullion has been clear on his intention to bring back a ‘wage based’ model for remote Australia, while ensuring there is a more simplified system, relying less on a national welfare system, and more on local control and decision making.
The minister seeks a new model that lifts the best parts from the CDP, past models such as the CDEP, and new thinking to ensure we not only maintain momentum, but also further improve outcomes for remote job seekers and communities.
The release of this discussion paper is the start of a formal consultation process that will seek input from a broad range of stakeholders over the coming months. While the government is starting discussions on design principles and initial ideas on what any new model could look like, there are a number of options and approaches available. This paper outlines these options and also includes some guiding questions for stakeholders’ consideration.
The government wants to better understand which aspects people value, what outcomes communities would like to achieve and what will best suit remote Australia, to build a new model in partnership with Indigenous Australians.