A half-hearted defence of the CDEP scheme

A half-hearted defence of the CDEP scheme Journal Article

Family Matters

  • Author(s): Boyd Hunter
  • Published: 2009
  • Volume: 81

Abstract: The Australian Government is currently seeking to identify some potential reforms for the Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) scheme and the Indigenous Employment Program in an attempt to improve Indigenous economic development. For example, they are soliciting suggestions on how such programs can be linked to the universal employment services model and innovatively address Indigenous people’s needs into the future. This paper attempts to evaluate the relative strengths and weaknesses of the CDEP scheme to better inform this move to reform such programs. The CDEP scheme is an innovative program that originally began in 1977 by converting notional equivalents of the unemployment benefit entitlements of Aboriginal people in remote areas within the social security system into grants to Aboriginal organisations from the then Commonwealth Department of Aboriginal Affairs. These grants were then used by Indigenous organisations to employ potential unemployment benefit recipients in part-time work. The scheme was developed as a response to the perceived social threat of “sit-down money” to Indigenous communities in the 1970s, but, ironically, is now being criticised as one of the main factors driving the social effects of prolonged welfare dependence.

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Suggested Citation
Boyd Hunter, 2009, A half-hearted defence of the CDEP scheme, Volume:81, Journal Article, viewed 18 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=3377.

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