The Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) scheme is a program whereby Aboriginal community councils receive grants roughly equivalent to the social security entitlements of community members which are used as wages for the creation of jobs. It has been operating since 1977, during which time it has expanded to include 169 participating communities and involve 18,266 Aboriginal people. Expenditure on CDEP for 1990/91 totalled about $194 million, representing 36 per cent of the Aboriginal affairs portfolio expenditure.
This paper focuses on the nature of some unresolved administrative and policy issues relating to the CDEP scheme. Many of these issues stem from the development of the CDEP scheme as both a welfare and a workforce program with the differing policy directions, funding needs and administrative requirements that this entails. The appropriate balance between income support or welfare and employment development or workforce objectives in the scheme may appear unachievable, but the intractable and structural nature of Aboriginal unemployment in many situations makes the scheme worthy of close attention by policy makers.
ISBN: 0 7315 1253 7