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Monday, 19 March 2018
Page: 1523

Senator CASH (Western AustraliaMinister for Jobs and Innovation) (21:02): Thank you, Senator Leyonhjelm, for moving those amendments. The government will be opposing them. The government recognises that more can be done to build on the success of the Community Development Program. A tailored approach is required in remote Australia to respond to the unique challenges in remote communities, including weaker labour markets, fewer job opportunities and often difficult social conditions. Furthermore, access to the alcohol and drug services that would be required to complement the changes to drug and alcohol exemptions needs to be assessed and improved before it is introduced into remote areas.

The government is consulting on what a new remote employment and participation framework should look like. Discussions with communities, providers and other stakeholders has been underway over the last nine months, with a formal discussion paper released in 2017. It is important that any changes to CDP are considered through this separate process, looking at the model as a whole and continuing to focus on engaging with remote jobseekers and supporting them into jobs. Therefore, CDP is excluded from the following changes included in the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform) Bill 2017: the new targeted compliance framework, the tightening of exemptions and the tightening of reasonable excuses for noncompliance due to drug or alcohol misuse. The CDP will operate under existing arrangements until a new model is implemented.