Regional Employment Trials Program

Regional Employment Trials

Recognising that some regions face challenges in terms of employment opportunities and growth, the Australian Government has introduced the Regional Employment Trials (RET) program in 10 disadvantaged regions, starting 1 October 2018.

The trial takes into account regional variations to help ensure that local economic opportunities are better promoted to Australians looking for work and employment services providers.

In trial regions, Employment Facilitators will work with Regional Development Australia (RDA) committees to enable local stakeholders to address employment issues. RDA committees will play a key role in the identification, assessment and promotion of RET projects to ensure they align with local needs.

Stakeholders could include local governments, employers, training organisations, not-for-profits, employment services providers and other community organisations able to provide employment and training related opportunities and assistance to unemployed people.

The trial will deliver:

  • stronger connections between regional stakeholders, including employment services providers
  • tailored employment initiatives that meet local needs
  • improved awareness of local labour markets
  • the potential for improved regional employment outcomes

Local Employment Initiative Fund

A Local Employment Initiative Fund of $1 million will be available in each of the 10 RET regions, providing grants of between $7,500 and $200,000 to local stakeholders for employment related projects.

Local stakeholders in the selected regions can develop project proposals for initial consideration by their local RDA committee. To facilitate a strong connection with employment programs, all projects will need to partner with at least one employment services provider.

Activities are expected to better connect employers with regional Australians looking for work, identify future employment, training or work experience opportunities, and help address local skills gaps.

Initiatives will be tailored to the opportunities and needs in each selected region. Examples might include:

  • pre-apprenticeship placement programs
  • mature aged residents and local business leaders mentoring job seekers
  • preparing job seekers to be skilled and ready for employment in up-coming infrastructure projects
  • work experience projects aligned with local employment opportunities.

Applying for funding

The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS) is responsible for administering the grant opportunity on behalf of the Department of Jobs and Small Business, through the Business Grants Hub.

To find out whether you are eligible for funding, download the Regional Employment Trials Grant Opportunity Guidelines from the Business Grants Hub website.

Regional Employment Trial Regions

The following map and table outline the 10 selected trial regions and the corresponding RDA committee contacts.

Map of RET Regional Development Australia Regions and Contacts. For details read the table below.

RET Regional Development Australia Regions and Contacts

Location Eligible RDA region RDA Committee email
NSW Northern Inland
Far South Coast
Victoria Melbourne (Western Melb / North Western Melb Employment Regions only)
Queensland Townsville and North West (Townsville Employment Region only)
Wide Bay Burnett
South Australia Murraylands and Riverland
Yorke and Mid North
Western Australia Peel
Tasmania Tasmania (North and North Western Tasmania Employment Region only)

Employment Facilitators

As part of the RET program, 10 Employment Facilitators will support the delivery of the program in the trial regions. Employment Facilitators are contracted by the Department and are responsible for liaising with the wider community to connect job seekers with employment and training opportunities, and work with employers and local stakeholders to identify strategies that take advantage of local employment opportunities.

The details of the five existing Employment Facilitators can be found on the Employment Facilitator’s page. Five new Employment Facilitators will be engaged in the following trial regions:

  • Northern Inland, New South Wales
  • Far South Coast, New South Wales
  • Wide Bay Burnett, Queensland
  • Murraylands and Riverland, South Australia
  • Yorke and Mid North, South Australia

Information on new Employment Facilitators will be made available on the Employment Facilitator’s page soon.

Early Access to Relocation Assistance to Take Up a Job

For eligible job seekers, the trial will also examine how earlier access to Relocation Assistance to Take up a Job can assist securing employment.

Who is eligible?

Eligible participants on a jobactive, ParentsNext or Transition to Work caseload within a trial region will be able to participate in projects funded through the Local Employment Initiative Fund. This will count toward their program’s relevant Annual Activity/Participation Requirements.

Unemployed people not registered with an employment services provider may also volunteer to participate. Contact your Employment Facilitator for more details.

The program does not include remote areas, as other government programs apply in these regions.

Further information

The following factsheet provides further information:

Contact Us

For further information on the trial, email or contact the department’s National Customer Service Line on 1800 805 260.