The Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) scheme was established in 1977 primarily as an income support and community development program for remote Aboriginal communities. Since the launch of the Aboriginal Employment Development Policy (AEDP) in 1987, it has expanded its objectives and is now also regarded as an employment program. Under the scheme, members of participating communities forego individual access to social security entitlements. Amounts broadly equivalent to these entitlements are paid as block grants to communities which are then utilised as a wages pool to provide part-time employment.
Concern has been expressed by a number of commentators that there has been insufficient research on the effectiveness of the scheme. This paper attempts to begin to fill this gap by documenting from the 1986 Census the labour market activities of Aboriginal people living at 19 of the 38 communities participating in the scheme at that time. Unfortunately, the census does not allow identification of CDEP scheme participants, and the analysis is based on the crucial assumption that most people working 0-24 hours per week in the selected communities were in fact participants in the scheme.
The paper examines the age, income, educational status, occupations, industry of employment and industry sector of participants. It concludes with a discussion of policy issues arising from this analysis.
ISBN: 0 7315 1497 1