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Senate supports Greens motion to abandon discriminatory Community Development Program (CDP) Bill 

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 14 Nov 2018

The senate has today supported a Greens motion to abandon the CDP Bill that is currently before the senate.

“The Government should not be pushing ahead with this Bill – they haven’t consulted on these changes and there are better options available which are proposed by First Nations peoples, but once again this Government have ignored First Nations peoples, Senator Rachel Siewert said.

“Minister Scullion failed to release the final evaluation of the CDP and says that they are still “consulting” with communities before releasing it.

“If that is the case – why didn’t they consult when they introduced this Bill which changes CDP? 

“The first the peak body APONT heard of them was when they were listed on the notice paper!

“The senate should not be asked to consider this CDP Bill before we have seen the evaluation of the current program.

“What is the Government trying to hide by not releasing the evaluation before the Bill is debated?

“We already know from stakeholders and people on the ground that this work for the dole program is discriminatory and difficult to comply with and it’s pushing people further into poverty.

“I hope that the Government will listen to the senate, the community and submitters to the inquiry who were all against the Bill passing and reject this program."

The motion reads:

That the Senate -

(a)  notes that:

(i)            on 5/10/18 the Government confirmed that the evaluation of the Community Development Program (CDP) had been completed;

(ii)           in response to a motion for the order of production of documents passed by the senate, the Government confirmed that the evaluation of the CDP was in the process of finalisation and that the Department was still engaging with the fieldwork component of the evaluation and would therefore not release it publicly;

(iii)          on 26/10/18 the Minister confirmed that in August 2018 the Indigenous Evaluation Committee had received a finalised version of the report but that it had not yet been sent back to communities for consideration and that there was no timeline in place for when the final evaluation would be released publicly;

(iv)         publicly available and independent evaluations are an important tool for assessing and making evidence based decisions in social policy;

(c) acknowledges that the CDP is a discriminatory work for the dole regime that disproportionately impacts First Nations peoples and resulted in millions of dollars being stripped away from people already living in poverty since it commenced in July 2015 and;

(d) calls on the Government to abandon the Social Security Legislation Amendment (Community Development Program) Bill 2018 as there is strong stakeholder opposition to the Bill and members of Parliament have not been given an opportunity to analyse the CDP evaluation and consult with First Nations peoples and stakeholders.


Media Contact:
Lucy Cowcher-Guthrie: 0418 401 180

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