The Greens have today come out in strong support of the First Nations communities in Western Australia suing the Federal Government in a landmark action over the remote work-for-the-dole scheme, CDP.
“If the Government will do nothing to stop the damage this program is doing to First Nation’s peoples, then communities will”, Greens spokesperson on First Nations issues Senator Rachel Siewert said.
“The Government’s own evaluation of the program released early this year articulated what was well known, that First Nations peoples are more likely to be penalised and are penalised more often than their city counterparts, which is what communities and researchers have been saying for a long time.
“People in remote regions, 83% of whom are First Nations peoples should not be subjected to a work for the dole scheme that is far harsher and more punitive than the scheme for those who live in cities.
“The evaluation showed 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. This is discriminatory.
“People are being penalised because there are not enough jobs in communities, although there would be if Government was prepared to pay for the work that needs to be done.
“There needs to be commitment to addressing the barriers people face to employment such as poverty and ill health, particularly for young people who have a higher probability of being penalised.
“We need employment and support programs designed and led by First Nations peoples and they have to be funded for the long term. CDEP should never have been dropped in the first place.
“APONT has put forward an employment model that has been ignored by the Government and the new Minister should be taking the lead from this model and not double down on the current model that entrenches discrimination.”
Lucy Cowcher-Guthrie; 0418 401 180