The Government’s Indigenous Employment Policy (IEP) was announced in the 1999-2000 Commonwealth Budget with a view to generating more employment opportunities for Indigenous Australians. The main purpose of the evaluation is to assess how well the new arrangements are working, and to provide for policy adjustment over time in the light of experience. Evaluation reports on progress (stage one) and effectiveness (stage two) are now available.
The Stage one report (released in February 2003) covers the first two years of operation of the IEP, and focuses on the implementation of the elements of the policy and on the operation of the major elements of Wage Assistance, Structured Training and Employment Projects (STEP) and the Corporate Leaders for Indigenous Employment Project initiatives. The report shows a strong shift towards jobs in the private sector and that employment and education outcomes were both higher and more cost-effective than those achieved by previous specialised Indigenous programmes.
The Stage two report (released in April 2004) examines the effectiveness of the main components of the IEP (wage assistance, STEP, and Corporate Leaders) and the contribution of Job Network's Intensive Assistance to improving outcomes for Indigenous people. The report shows that specialised Indigenous employment programmes and Job Network services are both effective in helping Indigenous job seekers get more jobs with the private sector. Indigenous people are also keeping these jobs for longer than they would have without assistance. Areas for improvement and future challenges are identified.