On 6th September, the CDEP Consultative Group (CCG) met with representatives of FaHCSIA and DEEWR to clarify issues associated with the introduction of the new Remote Jobs and Communities Program (RJCP). CCG members thanked the Government for this opportunity.
The CCG reaffirmed its support for the RJCP model and recognised there is considerable flexibility for providers to provide support and training to participants. Members also recognised that many of the concerns they and other CDEP providers have raised over the previous months have been addressed.
Recognising that funding from CDEP, Job Services Australia (JSA), Indigenous Employment Program (IEP) and Disability Employment Services (DES) has been transitioned into the RJCP model, members considered the funding available under the model is lean and further considers that funding under RJCP should be subject to indexation. Members remain keen to work with the new program.
CCG believes that RJCP has the following strengths:
- A single provider for each of the 65 remote regions;
- A strong focus on the importance of remote Indigenous communities;
- Flexibility of model to support participation activities, training and support for participants and providers;
- A closer and more stable working relationship between communities, providers and Government;
- A five year funding agreement providing greater certainty for providers and the ability to undertake greater organisational planning;
- New RJCP Providers will be able to work together rather than being in competition which will help improve overall quality of service as there will be the opportunity for providers to develop ‘best practice’; and
- Significant opportunity to better focus training to employment opportunities and a further benefit of providers being able to work together to develop and deliver training packages.
CCG also discussed areas where action or further consideration is needed:
- Needing to have the EOI released as the prolonged timeframe is causing concern amongst communities and providers;
- Needing to ensure that the performance criteria recognise there are different employment opportunities in different regions – not all have strong labour markets or people that are job ready;
- Making sure that future information sessions are as consistent as possible;
- Providing further advice about how the Participation Account funding can be used and in particular how providers could charge costs to it;
- Further information on how compliance arrangements would work;
- Further consideration of the potential to claim outcome payments through provider related entities;
- The remote boundaries should be reviewed at the appropriate point in time;
- Outcome payments should be able to recognise completion of a Certificate I;
- Providers need clarity on how and on what the Participation Account funding can be spent; and
- Clarity around the various treatments of CDEP assets.
CCG requested that the following be developed/provided:
- Guidelines for how the provider, employer and Government will work together, for example an MoU or Service Agreement;
- CDEP Assets Fact Sheet; and
- Program Guidelines for Community Action Plans and the Community Development Fund.
FaHCSIA and DEEWR undertook to follow up on the issues raised.
Questions and Answers
- Will there be any changes to the 65 regions?
The Government has received feedback on the regions and changes are currently being considered.
- When will the Expression of Interest be out?
- Will remote and non-remote boundaries change?
Refer response to question one.
- What consultations will be done with communities not included in the 65 regions?
Consultations will be held with these communities to discuss ways forward. FaHCSIA and DEEWR will develop a transition plan for and with each community and provider.
- Why can’t the ‘non-remote’ communities not included in the 65 regions be included in the RJCP from the 1 July 2013.
The contract end dates for CDEP and JSAs are different. Non-remote JSAs were already contracted to 30 June 2015 before RJCP was developed. The RJCP model is to be reviewed in 2014-15, including future arrangements in these non-remote areas.
- How will JSA providers learn to pick up CDEP-like activities?
Refer response to question four. In addition, all CDEP participants should be currently registered with a JSA provider. Ninety per cent of CDEP participants are already connected to a JSA provider. JSA providers are experienced in delivering vocational and non-vocational assistance to job seekers, including activities to assist a person to prepare for employment.
- Who will pay out CDEP staff entitlements?
The CDEP provider.
- How will small and remote communities be supported and engaged?
There have been a large number of consultation and information sessions undertaken across remote Australia to ensure that communities are aware of the RJCP program and what the changes will mean. Beyond this, the purchasing strategy encourages small and Indigenous organisations to apply, even where they are unable to demonstrate the ability to deliver the full array of services across a region.
FaHCSIA and DEEWR officers will continue to work with remote communities and providers during the purchasing period and beyond.
The new RJCP will continue the support Indigenous communities to undertake community development through the Community Development Fund.
Beyond this, a central element of the model is the Community Action Plan which the provider will develop in consultation with communities in their region. Government will be the approver of the Plan. These Plans will ensure that communities and providers are working together and with government to achieve mutually defined and agreed goals.
- Will there be funding to support the development of new CAPs?
$1.2 million will be available from the 1 July 2013. How this is spent is yet to be determined.
- Who owns the current CAPs?
FaHCSIA is following up on this question.
- In working to achieve full participation, who will monitor this and what is the role of Centrelink?
Providers will decide the best way to engage participants and monitor participation rates. The Centrelink role will be the same as their current role. All stakeholders in the new system will require training to make sure roles are clear and the system works efficiently.
- What are the Consumer Price Index (CPI) arrangements?
There will be CPI increases on CDEP wages. Other elements are not subject to indexation.
- What are ‘participants’ called in the new model RJCP?
DEEWR uses a collective term, ‘Jobseekers’ to refer to all participants in income support arrangements. That said, it is likely the terms: jobseekers, participants and CDEP wages recipients will be used in different contexts.
- What funding streams will be available to RJCP providers?
Service fees, job placement payments, outcome payments, Participation Account credits and funding to support Remote Youth Leadership and Development Corps participants. Funding will also be available through the Community Development Fund.
- Where will wage subsidies be drawn from?
The Participation Account.
- How will the Participation Account work?
The focus is on servicing the need of job seekers. A payment will be made for each new job seeker.
Participation Account credit
Amount (GST inc)
On transition to RJCP (year 1)
Eligible job seekers starting in RJCP or who transition from JSA/DES/CDEP on 1 July 2013
Annual/anniversary of start
Eligible job seekers inc. partial work capacity
Providers will decide how the money is spent to support the job seekers. The Account credits cannot be used to employ people, but charges can be made against it for staff providing direct services to participants. Providers will need to be able to justify credits/funding attributed in this way but no acquittal is required.
When a job seeker gains employment, any remaining funds in the Participation Account will remain available to the provider.
17. Can job seekers come back into the program after being employed?
Yes, but there will be some rules to limit ‘churn’.
18. What are the Employment Outcome Payments?
Outcome payments: Employment (no receipt of Newstart or Youth Allowance)
Amount (GST inc)
7 weeks employment in 14-week period — noting high number of short-term jobs
13 weeks employment in 26-week period
26 weeks employment in 52-week period
19. What financial acquittal system will be used for service fees?
Expenditure will need to be properly accounted for.
20. What are the restrictions in dealing with related entities?
This topic needs further consideration given the need to protect against gaming but providing appropriate flexibility to generate employment outcomes in remote areas where the provider organisation and entities may be the main or only source(s) of employment.
21. What are the Outcome Payments for Youth Corps?
The Outcome Payments for participants in the Youth Corps are the same as for other job seekers. Providers should be focused on long term sustainable outcomes for youth. In addition there are separate service fees for participants in the Remote Youth Development Corp.
Special program for young people; up to 12,000 places funded over five years
Amount (GST inc)
22. What is the timing for the EOI process?
The EOI will be released shortly.
23. What are the Government’s expectations of written responses to the EOI?
Requirements will be clearly laid out in the selection criteria as part of the EOI documentation.
24. How will DEEWR and FaHCSIA assess proposed partnerships?
Assessors will look at each organisation as well as the whole partnership. Assessments will be undertaken by staff located in the remote and regional networks of FaHCSIA and DEEWR.
25. How can potential providers choose good partners?
Organisations will need to carefully consider the requirements of their partners and be assured that arrangements will be sustainable. Also refer to question 24 where departments would also need to examine these arrangements.
26. What are the transition arrangements for assets?
FaHCSIA has undertaken to develop and disseminate a fact sheet for providers and network based staff. At a high level, the treatment of assets will need to be determined on a case by case basis and in consultation with CDEP providers.
Issues to be referred to Government
1. The lack of CPI increases
CCG believes that a proper business approach requires the acknowledgement of normal CPI increase in program costs.
2. Remote and Non-Remote Boundaries
These need to be reviewed in the future.
3. Outcome payments for Certificate 1 completion.
There is currently an outcome payment for Certificate 1 under CDEP. Could this be included in RJCP?