Regional Employment Trials Program

Regional Employment Trials

Recognising that some regions face challenges in terms of employment opportunities and growth, the Australian Government has introduced the Regional Employment Trials (RET) program in 10 disadvantaged regions, starting 1 October 2018.


The trial takes into account regional variations to help ensure that local economic opportunities are better promoted to Australians looking for work and employment services providers.

In trial regions, Employment Facilitators will work with Regional Development Australia (RDA) committees to enable local stakeholders to address employment issues. RDA committees will play a key role in the identification, assessment and promotion of RET projects to ensure they align with local needs.

Stakeholders could include local governments, employers, training organisations, not-for-profits, employment services providers and other community organisations able to provide employment and training related opportunities and assistance to unemployed people.

The trial will deliver:

  • stronger connections between regional stakeholders, including employment services providers
  • tailored employment initiatives that meet local needs
  • improved awareness of local labour markets
  • the potential for improved regional employment outcomes

Local Employment Initiative Fund

A Local Employment Initiative Fund of $10 million is available across the 10 RET regions, providing grants of between $7,500 and $200,000 to local stakeholders for employment related projects.

Local stakeholders in the selected regions can develop project proposals for initial consideration by their local RDA committee. To facilitate a strong connection with employment programs, all projects will need to partner with at least one employment services provider.

Activities are expected to better connect employers with regional Australians looking for work, identify future employment, training or work experience opportunities, and help address local skills gaps.

Initiatives will be tailored to the opportunities and needs in each selected region. Examples might include:

  • pre-apprenticeship placement programs
  • mature aged residents and local business leaders mentoring job seekers
  • preparing job seekers to be skilled and ready for employment in up-coming infrastructure projects
  • work experience projects aligned with local employment opportunities.

Applying for funding

The Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources is responsible for administering the grant opportunity on behalf of the Department of Education, Skills and Employment, through AusIndustry.

To find out whether you are eligible for funding, download the Regional Employment Trials Grant Opportunity Guidelines from the AusIndustry website.

Regional Employment Trial Regions

The following map and table outline the 10 selected trial regions:

Map of RET Regional Development Australia Regions and Contacts. For details read the table below.

Employment Facilitators

As part of the RET program, 10 Employment Facilitators will support the delivery of the program in the trial regions. Employment Facilitators are contracted by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment and are responsible for liaising with the wider community to connect job seekers with employment and training opportunities, and work with employers and local stakeholders to identify strategies that take advantage of local employment opportunities.

RDA Committee and Employment Facilitator Contacts

State Eligible RDA region RDA Committee email Employment Facilitator
NSW Northern Inland

Bronwyn Pearson
0412 400 206

Far South Coast

Andrew Wales
0497 832 330

Victoria Melbourne (Western Melb / North Western Melb Employment Regions only) Terry Kennedy
0408 332 868
Gippsland Luke Arber
0439 713 482
Queensland Townsville and North West (Townsville Employment Region only)
Wide Bay Burnett Austin Ryann
07 3333 2055
0466 669 934
475 Gympie Rd, Strathpine, QLD 4500
South Australia Murraylands and Riverland Christine Willersdorf
0436 647 305
Yorke and Mid North Lisa Brock
08 8632 5628
0449 671 183
Western Australia Peel Maryanne Baker
0407 958 181
Tasmania Tasmania (North and North Western Tasmania Employment Region only) James McCormack
0428 299 262

Early Access to Relocation Assistance to Take Up a Job

For eligible job seekers, the trial will also examine how earlier access to Relocation Assistance to Take up a Job can assist securing employment.

Who is eligible?

Eligible participants on a jobactive, ParentsNext or Transition to Work caseload within a trial region will be able to participate in projects funded through the Local Employment Initiative Fund. This will count toward their program’s relevant Annual Activity/Participation Requirements.

Unemployed people not registered with an employment services provider may also volunteer to participate. Contact your Employment Facilitator for more details.

The program does not include remote areas, as other government programs apply in these regions.

Activity specific information

The following information is for RET Grant Recipients to assist them in managing their Activity:

Fact Sheet

The following factsheet provides further information:

Contact Us

For further information on the trial, email or contact the department’s National Customer Service Line on 1800 805 260.