Abstract: Established more than thirty years ago, the Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) program has expanded to range from substituting for local government services to offering payment for housework and attendance at funerals. Despite a fall in participation, CDEP expenditure has continued to rise, to more than $550 million a year in 2006–07. Participants often regard CDEP jobs contemptuously as providing ‘sit down’ money for little work. Often, these ‘jobs’ do not even require attendance. Instead of being a transition to real work, CDEP is increasingly acting as an obstacle to employment. In response to mounting criticism of the scheme, the Howard Government decided to move CDEP recipients in urban and regional labour markets to mainstream employment programs from 1 July 2007. These Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders were now to receive the same welfare and unemployment benefits and be subject to the same mutual obligation responsibilities as other Australians.