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Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Remote Engagement Program

A commitment to a new program to replace the Community Development Program (CDP) from 2023 was announced on 11 May 2021. This will be known as the Remote Engagement Program.

The new program will provide improved employment pathways and economic opportunities for participants in remote communities, so they can realise their social and economic goals and aspirations. The Minister for Indigenous Australian’s announcement of the new program is available at: Budget media release: New Remote Jobs Program to replace CDP and changes to Mutual Obligation Requirements.

Over the next two years, the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) will work in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and remote communities to develop the new program. This way, the program will be fit-for-purpose and better match the needs of communities, reflecting the diversity of remote Australia.

Trial Arrangements

The Australian Government has invited the following CDP regions to work in partnership to co-design and trial different approaches for the new program:

  • Mid West/West Region, Western Australia
  • Ngaanyatjarra Lands, Western Australia
  • Eyre, South Australia
  • Barkly (South East Barkly and North Barkly), Northern Territory
  • Palm Island, Queensland

Trial regions were selected to reflect the diversity of remote Australia and test a cross section of jurisdictions, differing geographic proximity to regional centres, and varying proportions of job-ready CDP participants.

A local co-design group will be established in each trial region to determine how each Remote Engagement Program trial site will be implemented. Insights from these groups will be provided to a National Co-Design Working Group which will oversee the development of the new program.

Public Discussion Paper

The Government is committed to ongoing consultation over the next two years on the design of the new program. To start the conversation with affected communities, the Minister for Indigenous Australians released a public discussion paper on the development of the new program.

The Minister’s media release is available at: New co-design measures to replace CDP

The NIAA received a total of 34 public submissions, including from remote communities, Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations, local businesses and organisations, and service providers. The Agency is considering all submissions in its advice to the Australian Government on the design and delivery of the new program in 2023.

You can download the discussion paper and view public submissions. To support a transparent process, the NIAA sought consent from authors to publish submissions and de-identified personal information in line with Commonwealth privacy legislation.

Consultation Sessions  

The NIAA will also undertake public consultations with stakeholders, including peak organisations, employment services providers and representatives from remote communities in 2022. Consultations  will take place either virtually or, where possible, face-to-face to discuss what will be required under the new program to support employment pathways and improve outcomes for people living in Australia’s remote communities.

Consultations will be ongoing until the new program is rolled out in 2023. If you would like to talk to the NIAA about this opportunity, please submit your inquiry to

More information

  • For enquires about existing CDP services in your region, contact your local provider or the NIAA Regional Offices.
  • You can contact the Job Seeker Hotline 13 62 68 for general information on employment services and the CDP.
  • The Department of Education, Skills and Employment, National Customer Service Line (NCSL) 1800 805 260 can help with questions about jobactive, the Government's employment services program that operates outside remote Australia.
  • Complaints can be sent to

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