In this interview, we talk with Senator Malarndirri McCarthy, Senator for Northern Territory, Australian Labor Party.
The focus is on the Community Development Program (CDP) and how it’s affecting people living in remote communities.
There used to be the CDEP – the Community Development and Employment Program. This was then changed and renamed the Remote Jobs and Communities Program. More recently, from 1st July 2015, this program was changed again and is now called the Community Development Program, or CDP.
The CDP is a ‘work-for-the-dole’ program and requires that people who receive income benefits have to work for 25 hours per week throughout the year in order to get their welfare money. People on CDP get ten weeks leave per year, which includes annual leave, sick leave and cultural leave.
You must participate in the CDP if you live in a remote area and get Newstart Allowance, a Parenting Payment or Youth Allowance, and are unemployed or have what the government calls ‘mutual obligation requirements’, which means that you are receiving income support money.
The CDP includes over 1,000 communities and about 35,000 people, of which 83 percent are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
The CDP only operates in remote communities and is different to the JobActive program which was also introduced from 1 July 2015 but operates in cities and big towns. Under JobActive, job seekers have to participate in Work-for-the-Dole or other work-like activity for only six months each year in order to keep receiving their income support or need to look for up to 20 jobs each month. So, people on CDP have to work up to three times longer than city-based jobseekers who receive welfare payments.