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Remote communities urged to have their say on new government jobs program

Dechlan Brennan -

The federal government has announced the next phase of the Remote Jobs and Economic Development program (RJED) by launching community and organisation consultations to help with the design of a program to replace the old CDP.

Initially announced in February, the $707 million program will start later in the year and has been pushed by the government with the aim of creating 3,000 jobs in remote Australia over the next three years.

The proposed program will see local and community organisations employing people across all 'CDP regions' in Australia and is designed to help build the remote workforce and reduce the reliance on the fly-in-fly-out workers.

The government has said the RJED will offer competitive wages, superannuation, and sick leave, all of which were not available under the previous CDP model.

The consultations for the program will see communities across the country share ideas on how it should work, with face-to face sessions to be held in remote areas, and survey and succession appears available online.

The National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) said the consultations will allow them to work with communities to create jobs that help deliver services a particular community needs, as well as supporting people in those jobs and allowing program flexibility to "make the most of local opportunities".

Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney said partnering with First Nations people and remote communities was critical to successfully creating real jobs in remote Australia.

"We want to hear from locals about how these jobs can make the biggest difference on the ground in remote communities," Ms Burney said.

"I encourage all to get involved via a face-to-face meeting in your area or online and am looking forward to this vital feedback on how to design the best possible remote jobs program for the future."

Assistant Minister Malarndirri McCarthy - a former participant of a remote jobs program herself - said the implementation and feedback from Indigenous people on the program would be "critical to its success".

"These community consultations, which will include interpreters where needed, are an important step in our commitment to replace the broken CDP with real jobs, real wages and decent conditions," Ms McCarthy said.

The government previously said the LNP's CDP program "failed individuals and failed communities" and did not help to close the gap on Indigenous employment.

However, there remains concerns that 3000 jobs over three years will not put a dent in the significant issue of unemployment in remote communities across Australia.

A full list of consultation times and dates can be found here.

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