ROCKHAMPTON'S high level of disadvantage made it the perfect place to test a pilot program which will now spread across Australia.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (pictured) will visit Rockhampton today for the second time in 12 months to announce a $263 million funding injection to the ParentsNext program and its 20 new locations.
According to the Every Child CQ report, 24% of children in Rockhampton live in jobless families and 43% of children live in relative poverty - but since the program launched here in April last year, more than 800 local parents have been provided with training and education, community services such as counselling, or paid work.
Rockhampton was chosen as one of 10 flagship locations for ParentsNext, but from July 2018 the program will be expanded and delivered in two streams.
The first will target the most disadvantaged parents in all 51 employment regions covered by Jobactive providers.
The second, 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 10 existing locations.
The new Queensland locations announced are Townsville, Cairns, Mackay and Toowoomba.
Rockhampton has a teen pregnancy rate double the national average and with approximately 96% of ParentsNext participants expected to be women, the program will work with a range of other government initiatives designed to increase female employment participation in the workforce.
The national expansion will see approximately 68,000 parents each year receive assistance under the program.
ParentsNext participants receive personalised assistance, including advice on relevant education and qualifications, and training to improve numeracy and literacy.