14.07.17 LATEST CDP RESEARCH REVEALS DISCRIMINATION AGAINST INDIGENOUS PEOPLE LIVING IN REMOTE AREAS

LATEST CDP RESEARCH REVEALS DISCRIMINATION AGAINST INDIGENOUS PEOPLE LIVING IN REMOTE AREAS

Senator Dodson has expressed serious concern that the Turnbull Government’s Community Development Programme (CDP) discriminates against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in remote areas.

The latest research into the CDP from the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research at the Australian National University reveals:

  • Across the country, since the beginning of CDP, Indigenous unemployed people have received more penalties than their non-Indigenous counterparts - even though they represent only a fraction of the total population of unemployed Australians.
  • In the 21 months from when CDP began on 1 July 2015, 299,055 financial penalties were applied to CDP participants.
  • In the same period, 237 333 financial penalties were applied to city-based  jobactive participants – even though jobactive has more than twenty times the number of participants.

The CDP operates only in remote areas, covering 1000 communities and 35,000 participants - 84 percent of whom are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The requirements for complying with the CDP Programme are harsher than the rules for participants in jobactive.

This is obvious from the rate at which CDP participants are being financially penalised.

COMMENTS ATTRIBUTABLE TO SENATOR DODSON:

“In my visits to communities I have seen that under the CDP people are starving, that pensioners are being humbugged, and that the communities are suffering greatly.

It is well understood that remote Australia has fewer employment opportunities than urban and regional areas. In many remote communities the unemployment rate would remain unacceptably high even if all the jobs were filled by local people.

We need to think differently about how work is defined especially for remote communities. Language, art, culture, social values, stories – these build communities and should be supported though welfare programs where they meet the needs and values of communities.

Earlier programs such as the CDEP had their problems, but at least people in communities were productively engaged in work that benefited their community.

I am pleased that there is a Senate Inquiry into the appropriateness and effectiveness of the objectives, design, implementation and evaluation of the Community Development Program (CDP), and I await the outcomes.

We need to support the aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by addressing the issue of discrimination against jobseekers who wish to stay connected to their country.”  Senator Dodson said.

FRIDAY, 14 JULY 2017

 

 SOURCES:

July 2017

Social security penalties applied to participants in the Community Development Programme

Update including data for quarter ending March 2017

Lisa Fowkes

Research Scholar

Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, ANU

 

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