Abstract: This study aimed to describe the role of the Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) scheme in rural and remote communities in Australia and to evaluate the effectiveness of the scheme. It identifies and describes the major needs of such communities and examines how the CDEP schemes attempted to meet the needs. CDEP schemes are very flexible, supporting community-oriented activities, commercial ventures, employment with community and external host employers as well as some individual projects. It is found that in providing funds for communities and in assisting implementation of programs, the scheme empowers communities towards increased decision making and enables them to establish income-generating ventures. However there continue to be challenges in terms of determining community needs. There are further challenges in engaging participants in formal apprenticeships and traineeships to completion and in longer term training leading to qualifications.