This paper describes the organisation of work in the Redfern Community Development Employment Project (CDEP) scheme and considers the policy and community issues that are being raised. Two broad perspectives are posed of CDEP employment as 'welfare work' and as 'culture work'. This analytical device serves as the basis for examining the wider socioeconomic circumstances of such urban schemes. The paper uses 1991 Census data to analyse the key characteristics of the Redfern urban labour force. The Redfern population's location at the centre of a metropolitan labour market does not appear to be matched by greater participation; rather, it appears to be a disadvantaged enclave. The Redfern CDEP scheme operates within an influential Aboriginal domain where the Redfern Aboriginal Corporation (RAC) undertakes a major rehabilitative and case management role in respect to particular participants. The paper critically assesses the policy assumption that urban Aboriginal communities such as Redfern are more locationally advantaged, more attached to mainstream labour markets and resources, and hence more likely to develop economic self-sufficiency.
ISBN: 0 7315 1773 3