'Working for CDEP': A case study of the Community Development Employment Projects scheme in Port Lincoln, South Australia

Author/editor: Smith, D
Year published: 1994
Issue no.: 75


The Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) scheme has been subject to a plethora of government reviews, but there are few published case studies of its operation in remote communities, and no accounts of urban schemes. This paper describes the organisation of the CDEP scheme in Port Lincoln, South Australia; one of the first urban CDEP schemes. The Port Lincoln scheme has been held up by both the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs as an example of 'self-determination in practice', generating employment and training opportunities, and creating dramatic changes within the town. The Port Lincoln case study describes the organisational structure and practices developed by the urban CDEP scheme, considers the socioeconomic and cultural background within which it is operating, and presents a detailed examination of employment and other outcomes. The paper concludes with an assessment of national program and policy objectives informed by local outcomes and perspectives.

This paper considers the determinants of employment income for Indigenous Australians compared with non-Indigenous Australians. Ordinary Least Square (OLS) regression techniques are applied to 1991 Census data to consider the question: does the lower income of these Indigenous people reflect differences in their factor endowments (like education) rewarded in the labour market, or are they rewarded differently for the same set of endowments than are non-Indigenous Australians. The results show that the main source of lower incomes for Indigenous Australians was their smaller endowment of human capital characteristics. The paper concludes with a discussion of the policy implications of these results.

ISBN: 0 7315 1749 0

ISSN:1036 1774

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