Communique – First Nations Reference Group Remote Jobs and Economic Development Program

Minister for Indigenous Australians

The First Nations Reference Group for the Remote Jobs and Economic Development Program held its fifth meeting today in Sydney.

The $707 million Remote Jobs and Economic Development program announced in February 2024, will create 3,000 jobs in remote Australia, to help close the gap in employment outcomes, boost economic opportunities and invest in cultural authority.

The Reference Group were updated on the current phase of community consultations that will inform the design of the Remote Jobs program. Members heard that since May, consultations have been held with over 75 remote communities in 35 of the 60 Community Development Program (CDP) regions. Consultations will be held in all 60 CDP regions before the end of June 2024. Key themes that have emerged from consultations include the importance of building capacity of community organisations, and that communities want the program have a strong focus on engaging youth.

Members heard that the draft Grant Opportunity Guidelines (GOGs) for the Remote Jobs and Economic Development program will be released for public consultation in mid-June. The draft GOGs will also be made available to the Reference Group at this time for their expert feedback.

In advance of reviewing the draft GOGs, members discussed a number of potential design elements that could enable all CDP regions to have equitable access to the investment in 3000 jobs. These discussions focused on the role that National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) regional offices will need to play to not only ensure equitable allocation of jobs within NIAA regions, but also support community organisations to plan transition pathways so that people can move into sustainable jobs with other employers after participating in the Remote Jobs program.

The Reference Group also welcomed a joint presentation from NIAA, the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations and the Department of Social Services on early design work to develop a new remote employment service which is expected to be in place in the second half of 2025.

Details on future public consultation process for a new remote employment service will be announced in the coming weeks.

The next meeting will be held on Tuesday 16 July 2024.

/Public Release. View in full here.