Statement from the NSWALC Chair Roy Ah-See Regarding CDP Reforms

The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, announced reforms to the Community Development Program (CDP) this week that deliver directly on NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) priorities - local control and jobs for our communities. 

I have heard from Land Council members in places where CDP is currently operating for our communities. NSWALC have been passing on your feedback directly to the Minister for Indigenous Affairs. 

I am proud of the relationship I have with the Commonwealth Government, as Chair of NSWALC and also as a Co-Chair of the Prime Minister's Indigenous Advisory Council. 

We may not agree on every issue, but I can say that the Minister is always willing to listen, and he does respond to what communities want. He recognises NSWALC as the largest Aboriginal representative body across Australia and our partnership is really important for our future. 

The CDP reforms will start from March 2019 and focus on delivering more local control, greater flexibility, reduce the number of breaches, and a focus on engagement and employment. This includes:

  • supporting more jobs in remote communities through delivering 1,000 subsidised jobs;
  • reducing hours of participation to up to 20 hours per week (from 25 hours currently);
  • increasing flexibility so job seekers can meet their requirements in the way the best suits them;
  • increasing community engagement and the role of Indigenous organisations;
  • changing the provider payment model to remove incentives for providers to penalise job seekers; and
  • establishing a capital investment fund to improve the quality of CDP activities.

These changes respond directly to what remote communities have been calling for. By giving flexibility to job seekers to complete their activities across different hours or days, giving discretion to local Indigenous organisations to engage job seekers and delivering more jobs, more people will be supported to overcome barriers to work, gain the skills and experience to win jobs, and move off welfare and into work.

Importantly, from July, CDP will be delivered by Indigenous organisations across all regions.

I will keep listening to what you want and taking this to Canberra to ensure our communities are strong and we provide the opportunities for our families to thrive and succeed across the State.