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Wednesday, 13 November 1985
Page: 2064


Senator ELSTOB —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations. It refers to the community youth support scheme and Aboriginal unemployment. As the recent review of Aboriginal employment and training programs has confirmed that Aboriginals are the most severely disadvantaged unemployed group in Australia, can the Minister advise the Senate whether the Government would consider granting special need status to those CYSS projects that are Aboriginal intensive? In view of the proven difficulties involved in establishing and maintaining successful support projects for unemployed Aboriginals, would the Minister give consideration to a pilot scheme for CYSS liaison officers to specifically co-ordinate and promote the effectiveness of Aboriginal CYSS projects?


Senator WALSH —I have a note from Mr Willis on this matter. In view of the wide-ranging recommendations contained in the report of the Miller Review of Aboriginal Training which was presented to the relevant Ministers in mid-August and which, of course, confirms the severe disadvantage faced by Aboriginals in the labour market, a committee of senior officials from the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and the Department of Employment and Industrial Relations has been set up to prepare a submission for Cabinet to assist the Government in its consideration of the report's recommendations. In relation specifically to the funding of CYSS projects to which Senator Elstob referred, the funding of CYSS projects is tied to standard levels of grants. The appropriate level of grant for each project is determined according to that project's needs, taking into account the local area being serviced, the expected level of participation in the project, types of activities and so on.

A major initiative in the last Budget was to increase the number of standard grant levels from three to five. It is not the intention to establish CYSS projects that are exclusively available for any single group in the community, which is implied by references to special needs status for some projects. However, in recognition of the fact that some projects need additional resourcing to run special activities for particular disadvantaged groups, the Government introduced special initiative grants in 1983-84. Those grants have proved to be particularly successful in assisting projects related to Aborigines. The allocation for that purpose has been increased substantially in this financial year-by 40 per cent. Provision is also made for training project officers working in CYSS projects. The Government's strong commitment to CYSS as an effective program in assisting disadvantaged young people is clear. The total allocation to CYSS in 1985-86 has been increased to $32m, an increase of 22 per cent.