The racially discriminatory Community Development Program has been renewed until July 2024, despite earlier promises to end the scheme.

The Community Development Program – which almost exclusively affects Indigenous workers – subjects workers to poor and dangerous working conditions, with no pay, no leave and no OHS standards. If workers do not meet their obligations, their welfare payments can be discontinued.

In its last years of operation, the CDP accounted for almost half of all penalties in the welfare system, despite accounting for a tiny percentage of overall welfare recipients.

The Federal Budget revealed a $111m injection into the program, most of which is earmarked to go towards administrative service fees as the program continues to expand into regional and remote, primarily indigenous, communities.

The Morrison Government chose to extend the CDP until 2024 after failing to meet and consult with Indigenous communities in order to come up with a better, fit-for-purpose replacement program. 

The ACTU proudly supports the First Nations Workers Alliance (FNWA) in its important and vital work, organising and educating CDP workers about their rights.

Quotes attributable to ACTU Indigenous Officer Lara Watson:

“The return of the CDP represents another broken promise to Indigenous workers by the Morrison Government. After failing to consult, the Prime Minister has returned to a racially discriminatory policy which was axed years ago.

“The Federal Government flouted a real opportunity to have consultations with community members on country and create a better replacement program that isn’t punitive, dangerous and racist.

“This is not a program to help Indigenous people on a pathway to purposeful employment. This is punishment for living in a remote community and a pool of free labour for private companies. This is punishment for being indigenous. It leads to more poverty, and more fracturing of communities. The CDP must end.”