'CDEP 2005—A New Home and New Objectives for a Very Old Program?' by Jon Altman. CAEPR Seminar Series. Notes from a joint seminar with Matthew Gray, presented on 2 March 2005.
The Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) scheme has existed since 1977; it is arguably the oldest Indigenous-specific program still in existence, relatively unchanged. From 1 July 2004, with the division of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Services (ATSIS) Indigenous-specific programs between Commonwealth mainline departments, it has been located in the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR). At face value, its new administrative home suggests that this at once innovative and highly flexible program might have a stronger, or even singular, labour market focus. In this seminar, we provide a perspective on CDEP based on analysis of National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS) 2002 data and explore the various impacts of the scheme on Indigenous participants, especially in rural and remote Australia. Using this evidence base we question if there is any need for fundamental change in this program, and if so, what?