New social security legislation provides options for co-design

Minister for Indigenous Australians

The Morrison Government has today passed the Social Security Legislation Amendment (Remote Engagement Program) Bill 2021, to facilitate the co-design of trials prior to the replacement of the Community Development Program in 2023.

The legislation introduces a new supplementary payment into the income support system that Remote Engagement Program trial regions can choose to include as part of their co-designed program.

Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP, said the new payment is one building block that communities can trial to inform the new program.

“The foundation of the Remote Engagement Program is premised on the building blocks being community-designed and community-led with individuals working for their communities,” Minister Wyatt said.

“The new supplementary payment will provide an incentive for job seekers in the trial regions to volunteer to take on a placement in a local community service to build their skills and experience.

“In the true spirit of co-design, the new legislation sets high level parameters, with further detail to be set out in legislative instruments, informed by the outcomes of the co-design process in each region.

“Trial regions may also consider other building blocks, including access to non-vocational support like family or mental health services and new ways to build vocational skills and training for job seekers.

“Over the next year, we will take the time to work together and listen to communities about what they think works best to encourage placements and skills development.

“As part of the co-design process, we will look at the amount of supplementary payments, the hours of engagement to be undertaken in return and what individuals are required to do to continue to receive the payment.”

Job seekers who are eligible for the new supplementary payment will participate in placements between 15 to 18 hours per week and will receive a fixed payment of between $100 and $190 per fortnight.

The new payment will be paid in addition to an eligible job seeker’s primary income support payment and their other existing supplementary payments and will not be subject to the income test in the Social Security Act.

The Remote Engagement Program is being trialled and co-designed in Mid West/West region and Ngaanyatjarra Lands region in WA, the Eyre region in South Australia, Barkly (South East Barkly and North Barkly) in the Northern Territory and Palm Island in Queensland.

Each location was carefully selected to provide a cross-section of jurisdictions, types of job markets, proximity to regional centres and varying proportions of job-ready CDP participants.

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