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Monday, 2 April 1984
Page: 1020

Senator ELSTOB —My question, which is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, concerns the community employment program. Can the Minister say whether, as in South Australia, other States have a community employment development officer employed by councils of social service specifically to assist community groups with formulating CEP projects and submissions for funding? Does the Government intend to review the CEP guidelines in view of the fact that eligibility provisions have prevented many worthwhile projects sponsored by community groups getting off the ground?

Senator BUTTON —Senator Elstob was kind enough to mention to me a day or two ago that he intended to ask this question. I have obtained an answer to the honourable senator's question from the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations. Community employment program grants have been approved in the following States or Territories for the specific purpose of stimulating and developing CEP proposals in the community. Victoria has two development officers sponsored by the Victorian Council of Social Service. Queensland has two development officers and one administrative assistant jointly sponsored by the Queensland Council of Social Service and Basic Research Action Development. Tasmania has two development officers sponsored by the Tasmanian Council of Social Service. The Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory each have one development officer sponsored respectively by the Council of Social Service and by Jobless Action.

I am advised that my colleague the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations has had consultations with all States and Territories and is undertaking a review of CEP in the light of experience with the program to date. A number of program developments were discussed at the recent conference of labour Ministers. It is intended also that in the next few months further consultations will take place with the States and the Territories and non- government organisations to enable any modification to CEP to be introduced in the next financial year. In relation to the requirement that sponsors contribute 30 per cent of total project costs, the Minister has advised that, in view of widespread concern expressed by local government community groups, he is initiating a separate review of this requirement. That matter will be considered by the Government in the near future. At that stage no doubt I will be able to provide Senator Elstob with a further answer.