Labor has called for a Senate inquiry into the fraught Community Development Program, with the support of the Greens.
Communities across the Northern Territory and Western Australia have consistently told us that this system leaves people in more debt, without food to feed their families, in rental arrears and feeling hopeless, struggling with an infuriating bureaucratic reporting process.
In 2016 an ANU report labelled the CDP a policy disaster that widens gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, rather than closing them.
The Inquirys comprehensive terms of reference will give CDP participants and stakeholders the opportunity to make submissions that reflect the true nature of the fraught CDP.
The inquiry is an opportunity to hear directly from CDP participants and communities to provide authentic insight into the shambolic process of CDP.
Through community engagement and direct involvement in the submission making process, there is the real potential to make significant improvements in addressing employment across Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
The motion to establish the committee was tabled in the Senate on 22 March, 2017.
The Inquiry will review the appropriateness and effectiveness of the objectives, design, implementation and evaluation of the Community Development Program (CDP), with specific reference to:
- the adequacy of the policy process that led to the design of the CDP;
- the nature and underlying causes of joblessness in remote communities;
- the ability of the CDP to provide long term solutions to joblessness, and to achieve social, economic and cultural outcomes that meet the needs and aspirations of remote Indigenous people;
- the impact of the CDP on the rights of participants and their communities, including the appropriateness of the payments and penalties systems;
- the funding of the CDP, including the use of unspent funds in the program;
- the extent of consultation and engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the design and implementation of the CDP, and the role for local decision making within the program;
- alternatives approaches to addressing joblessness and community development in remote Indigenous communities; and
- any other related matters.