Today’s revelations that the Labor Party will cut over $1 billion from the Indigenous Affairs portfolio and abolish the Community Development Program is an astonishing admission that Labor has no plans to improve life outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia.
The Community Development Program is the continuation of almost 40 years of remote employment services and is a critical part of Government’s work in remote communities to engage adults in work and improve the circumstances of remote communities.
The Community Development Program has delivered great results:
- The CDP has turned around community engagement and participation – from only 7 per cent at the end of Labor’s Remote Jobs and Communities Program to over 70 per cent today.
- Over 28,000 jobs for remote job seekers
- Over 9,600 long term employment outcomes
And the Government has already announced reforms to the Community Development Program to provide a fairer and simpler system, and move more people off welfare and into work. Changes include:
- 6,000 subsidised jobs across remote Australia
- Ensuring communities are at the centre of CDP with increased local control and flexibility in the design and delivery of CDP
- Support for remote business development
- Changes to the provider payment model to focus on working closely with job seekers to improve engagement and address barriers to employment
- Introduction of the Targeted Compliance Framework
- Change hours of participation from a maximum of 25 hours per week to up to 20 hours per week.
- Improved job seeker assessments, with local health workers able to provide the medical evidence required to review mutual obligation requirements
Labor’s shocking lack of detail on this policy leaves a lot of uncertainty for residents of remote Australia.
Will the Labor Party introduce the mainstream jobactive program into remote Australia despite clear calls from Indigenous leaders and communities for the need for a program that is tailored to the needs of remote job seekers?
Will the Labor Party abandon the principle of mutual obligations and return communities to the misery of sit down money and passive welfare that fails children, women and families and causes dropping school attendance and community safety outcomes?
Who has the Labor Party consulted with in making this decision?
Has the Labor Party asked representative bodies and local Aboriginal CDP providers? Has the Labor Party asked residents of remote communities?
Or has the Labor Party just made its decision based on the views of east coast academics and its union masters.
The Labor Party needs to come clean on its plans for remote Australia.