This paper explores the federal government's continued development of its Indigenous Employment Policy (IEP) with the launch of additional Indigenous-specific welfare reform initiatives flagged in the May 2001 Budget. One of these new initiatives focuses in particular on 'urban' Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) schemes and policy initiatives aimed at encouraging them to take on the additional role of Indigenous Employment Centres (IECs).
The key function of IECs will be to move CDEP participants into mainstream employment. The paper presents a description of the policy background to this recent government initiative, and describes the proposed function and objectives of IECs.
The then Department of Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business (DEWRSB) initiated a CDEP Work Preparation and Employment Trial, to test out the new initiative. The possible effects of the IEC initiative on CDEP organisations is examined through a preliminary study of Redfern CDEP in Sydney, which has agreed to participate in an IEC trial. Because the trial had only recently been implemented at the time the field visit was conducted by the author in 2001, the paper is not a comprehensive evaluation of the Redfern trial. Rather, the Redfern case study provides an important preliminary ground-testing of the proposed objectives and implementation of IECs.
In conclusion the paper raises some preliminary practical and policy implications for the CDEP scheme in general, and for specific CDEP organisations that may be considering undertaking an IEC role.
ISBN: 0 7315 5603 8