Supporting Indigenous Closing the Gap–Employment Services package

The Department of Jobs and Small Business works collaboratively with other agencies to improve servicing arrangements for the vulnerable—including young Indigenous people, ex-offenders and refugees—and to help them move to better employment outcomes.

Closing the Gap–Employment Services

The Closing the Gap – Employment Services package was announced in the 2017–18 Budget. It aims to create better opportunities for Indigenous Australians to find work and to help close the gap in employment outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Key elements of the package include enhancements to jobactive to deliver up-front intensive employment services to Indigenous job seekers, such as:

  • increasing wage subsidies and making these immediately available on commencement in employment services
  • including greater flexibility in the way services are delivered to encourage pre-placement and post-placement mentoring support
  • participation in health-related activities
  • encouraging jobactive providers to establish Indigenous specific, community-based Work for the Dole projects, and
  • increasing the focus on outcomes for Indigenous job seekers in jobactive provider performance monitoring.

These elements all commenced successfully on 1 January 2018.

Other elements of the package included providing more Indigenous job seekers aged 15 to 21 with access to Transition to Work, and supporting Indigenous prisoners with access to in-prison employment services before their release through the new Time to Work Employment Service.

Time to Work Employment Service

The Time to Work Employment Service commenced on 1 January 2018 and is a new in-prison employment service targeted at Indigenous Australians. It provides eligible prisoners who volunteer to the service with assistance while they are incarcerated, and helps them prepare for employment post-release.

Key features include a comprehensive employment assessment, assistance to develop a transition plan and a facilitated transfer to an employment services provider. Time to Work will be delivered by 13 specialist providers to service 70 non-remote prisons nationally.

The initiative operates separately to other employment services, however the Time to Work Employment providers will work with a participant’s post-release employment service provider to ensure a connected transfer into servicing. The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet will engage providers to deliver services in 10 remote prisons under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy.