Jobs Australia Calls For Reform Of CDP Following Release Of Evaluation

A new report, released yesterday by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C), highlights the need for fundamental reform of the Community Development Programme (CDP).
The long-awaited evaluation of the Community Development Programme (CDP) has revealed that while it has involved high levels of financial penalties for participants, it hasn’t significantly improved job outcomes relative to the forerunner program Remote Jobs and Communities Program (RJCP).
Jobs Australia’s CEO, Debra Cerasa, said, “It is shocking there have been so many Indigenous people receiving financial penalties in a program which is supposed to be about giving participants a hand-up.
“This evaluation has shown that about a third of participants are penalised, and one in ten of these lost 20% or more of their quarterly payments. Many have difficulties navigating the CDP and compliance systems, while others have health issues that are not properly assessed and considered.”
The report contains a wealth of insights into the complexity of the needs of unemployed people in remote communities. For example, almost three quarters have moderate to extreme barriers to employment.
CDP has not significantly improved the rate of 26-week employment outcomes and shows that achieving employment outcomes for CDP participants with extreme employment barriers is likely to require an investment over time.
There is new evidence in the evaluation that CDP is distancing people from support because the financial penalties don’t motivate them. For some job seekers, penalties have the opposite effect, demotivating and disempowering them and reducing engagement.
Debra Cerasa commented, “We are calling for the reform of CDP based on a model that puts communities in control. The Fair Work and Strong Communities model was developed by a national alliance of Indigenous and non-Indigenous organisations and Jobs Australia. The current government has proposed a new model but we don’t believe it will lead to improved outcomes. The evidence provided in this PM&C evaluation provides support for the need for more fundamental reforms.”
“We need to ensure that jobs are fully funded under a new scheme to ensure that it succeeds. Instead of Work for the Dole, we need to create more meaningful opportunities for participation, based on people’s capacity and needs.”


For comment, contact Mary Masters, 0400 014 008

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Jobs Australia is the national peak body which helps not-for-profit employment and community services all over Australia to provide the best possible assistance to disadvantaged communities and people.