A draft report by Jobs Australia detailing the failures of the paternalistic Community Development Program (CDP) should prompt the Government to dump the program, and abandon the legislation that will entrench it, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.
“Unfortunately I'm not surprised to hear that the program is increasing disadvantage and families are worse off. The design of CDP was flawed and meant it was more than likely to fail."
I have previously expressed deep concern about the CDP, which requires predominantly Aboriginal peoples in remote communities to work 25 hours a week, 48 weeks a year for income support payments. This program means participants are working below minimum wage, have payments docked for non-attendance, and have harsher requirements than people accessing income support in urban communities.
“To hear evidence that families are now going without food is extremely concerning. News that the program is unsurprisingly entrenching disadvantage demonstrates another example of paternalistic, ideological policy embedding poverty whilst reversing any progress in closing the gap.
“It is also quite astounding that news of a report that details the failure of the Community Development Program has prompted the former Prime Minister to encourage the programs extension. I urge Minister Scullion to listen to the evidence rather than an ideologue.
“Previous to the CDP, more fines applied to non-indigenous income support recipients than to Aboriginal support recipients. According to news today, post CDP, that trend has reversed. This demonstrates the Government heading backwards in closing the gap and should be immediately addressed”.