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Government’s own Community Development Program (CDP) evaluation indicates poor outcomes  

The Government’s evaluation of the CDP program reveals no secrets: people’s lives are worse, First Nations peoples are more likely to be penalised and are penalised more often which is what communities and researchers have been saying for a long time.

“This CDP evaluation still doesn’t get to the heart of the issue –why people in remote regions, 83% of whom are First Nations peoples have to be subjected to a work for the dole scheme that is far harsher and more punitive than their city counterparts,"Senator Rachel Siewert said.

“Only CDP participants have an obligation every day and copped significant penalties and payments. The evaluation shows that CDP participants that identify as Indigenous were estimated to be 3.3 times more likely than other participants to experience a penalty, and 2.7 times more likely to go on to completely lose their payment.  Participants identifying as Indigenous were estimated to have a higher value of total penalties over the year.

“First Nations peoples have a higher burden of health issues but are receiving less medical exemptions, often because there are no services in the regions to support them. With all the evidence we have on the burden of disease in First Nations communities this is one of the first things that job providers should have been trained to look out for.

“This is a double punishment, people don’t have the medical services and aren’t diagnosed or receiving treatment are then punished by the employment system that is meant to help them.

“This evaluation has confirmed what we already knew. A significant number of people have dropped out of the income support system.

“As we heard at the senate inquiry hearing last year almost 6000 people are “missing” from or are no longer in CDP and these changes cannot be explained by people being placed into work.

“Since its introduction in July last year, the Targeted Compliance Framework has already had negative consequences for vulnerable cohorts. 

“We heard last week that the TCF within the jobactive program has already seen First Nations peoples being breached 25% more than other jobseekers and the Government has moved to introduce this model to CDP which has previously been exempt.

“Job providers are not properly trained to implement the TCF particularly for vulnerable cohorts.

“The TCF model has eroded trust between jobs seekers and providers particularly in regional locations and that will be even further exacerbated in remote communities.

 “We will not get people into work until we commit to addressing the barriers they face to employment such as poverty and ill health, particularly for young people who have a higher probability of being penalised and more jobs are created in remote communities. CDP has to go.

“Labor has committed to scrapping CDP at their national conference and should they win Government later in the year they must stick to their promise if they are serious about reducing disadvantage in remote communities."

Media Contact:

Lucy Cowcher-Guthrie: 0418 401 180

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