The Turnbull Government will invest $263 million to provide training and support to assist thousands of Australian parents return to the workforce.
The ParentsNext programme will be expanded across the country and today the Government has announced 20 new locations.
The centres will connect more parents of young children with tailored support to improve their work readiness by the time their children start school.
Workforce participation is central to improving the long term wellbeing of all Australians. Helping more parents of young children into work will support more families, reduce welfare dependency and decrease child poverty.
ParentsNext currently operates in 10 locations across Australia. From 1 July 2018 it will be expanded and delivered in two streams:
- The first stream will be targeted to the most disadvantaged parents in all 51 Employment Regions covered by jobactive providers; and
- The more intensive stream will be delivered to a further 20 locations where there is a high proportion of parenting payment recipients who are Indigenous Australians. This will complement the ten existing locations.
Since launching in 10 priority locations in April last year, ParentsNext has already helped more than 10,000 parents into training and education, community services such as counselling, or paid work. The programme has made a deep and positive impact in the lives of many parents of young children, who received the support and guidance they needed to find their way into employment.
The national expansion will see approximately 68,000 parents each year receive assistance under the program.
The 20 new locations where the more intensive stream of the programme will operate are:
- New South Wales: Dubbo; Tamworth; Mid Coast; North Coast; Inner Sydney; Orange
- Queensland: Townsville; Cairns; Mackay; Toowoomba
- Western Australia: Geraldton; Broome; Perth South; Perth East
- South Australia: Port Adelaide; Port Augusta-Whyalla
- Northern Territory: Darwin-Palmerston; Alice Springs
- Victoria: Mildura
- Tasmania: Brighton
ParentsNext participants receive personalised assistance, including advice on relevant education and qualifications, and training to improve numeracy and literacy.
With approximately 96 per cent of ParentsNext participants expected to be women, the program will complement a range of other Government initiatives designed to increase female employment participation in the workforce.
The Prime Minister announced the expansion during a visit to one of the existing ParentsNext sites in Rockhampton, alongside Minister Cash and Member for Capricornia, Michelle Landry.
“More than 800 parents in Rockhampton have already benefitted from ParentsNext and they are now far better equipped to realise their potential by making valuable contributions to the local workforce. I’m pleased that parents in other regions around Australia will be able to reap the benefits as the program is rolled out nationally,” Ms Landry said.
The Coalition firmly believes that the best form of welfare is a job, which is why we continue to make substantial and targeted investments in all Australians, ensuring they are equipped with the skills and experience they need to get into work.