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Wednesday, 7 December 1983
Page: 3471

Question No. 582

Mr Porter asked the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, upon notice, on 4 October 1983:

(1) Have any arrangements been made to ensure that a specific proportion of the funds provided to the States under the Commonwealth Employment Program are spent in alleviating Aboriginal unemployment; if so, what amount or what proportion.

(2) How many Aborigines have been employed to date under the program.

(3) What is the estimated number of Aborigines to be employed under the program .

Mr Willis —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Insofar as the States and Territories are concerned, no specific proportion of the $250m provided under the Community Employment Program (CEP) for 1983-84 has been set aside to alleviate Aboriginal unemployment. In this component of the Program, however, arrangements have been made to ensure that Aboriginals are major beneficiaries. The Aboriginal community is represented on the CEP Consultative Committee in each State and Territory by a nominee of the National Aboriginal Conference. These Committees are responsible for assessing project applications. Aboriginals have been designated in the guidelines for the Program as a priority target group. Information is being provided to Consultative Committees to ensure that Aboriginal projects receive an equitable share of the funds that are being provided. The operational instructions to the Commonwealth Employment Service (CES) also identify Aboriginals as a target group and direct the CES to give priority in referring Aboriginals to any vacancies created under the CEP.

In the Commonwealth component of the CEP, under which an additional $50m has been provided for projects to be run by Commonwealth Departments and Authorities during 1983-84, an amount of $7m has been set aside specifically for Aboriginal projects. The individual projects to be approved will be agreed between myself and the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs.

(2) Information relating to the number of Aboriginals employed on the Program is not yet available. However statistics on this will be available in due course .

(3) No estimates have been made in relation to the allocation of the $250m to be provided to States and Territories.

500 Aboriginals are expected to be employed on projects funded from the $7m available for Aboriginal projects through Commonwealth Departments and Authorities. A further 180 positions have also been earmarked for Aboriginals on other approved projects which are to be sponsored by Commonwealth Departments and Authorities.