Justice and equality for remote Aboriginal workforce

Justice and equality for remote Aboriginal workforce

October 29, 2010

Bev Manton, Chairwoman of the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) has thrown her support behind today's rally in Sydney to stop the NT intervention and turn Community Development Employment Project (CDEP) positions into fully waged jobs.

Today's rally follows the Federal Government's broken promise to provide so-called 'real jobs' to thousands of Aboriginal people previously working under CDEP.

"The intervention into Northern Territory communities has been an abject failure on a raft of levels," Chairwoman Manton said.

"Apart from the physical and psychological harm done to its victims, one of its most damaging legacies has been the gradual dismantling of CDEP.

"Under Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin's new CDEP scheme, Aboriginal workers are being required to work 16 hours a week, providing vital civil services to townships, only to be paid in credit on a BasicsCard," she said.

"Having recently visited the Utopia region in Central Australia, many Aboriginal residents conveyed to me their dismay at this treatment, likening it to the humiliating ration-card days of years gone by.

"Making matters worse is news 500 jobs created to replace some of the lost CDEP positions in remote Shire Councils will also be made redundant," Chairwoman Manton said.

"The damage this will cause to remote Aboriginal communities is incalculable.

 "Residents of these communities frequently perform vital civil tasks required to keep their communities functioning, and it's simply embarrassing that in 2010 they receive quarantined Centrelink payments for their toil.

"These are Australian residents and they demand and deserve honest wages for real work.

"NSWALC stands behind the Stop the Intervention Collective (STIC) in their efforts to bring an end to failed policy, and ensure all CDEP positions are turned into fully waged jobs.

"The fate of Aboriginal labour needs to be in the hands of Aboriginal people," she said.

CONTACT: Chris Munro 0438 760 242
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Rally: 'Stop the intervention - Jobs with Justice for Aboriginal workers'

Friday October 29, 12:00pm, Sydney Town Hall