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Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

The Community Development Program (CDP)

The Community Development Program (CDP) is the Government’s remote employment and community development service. CDP supports job seekers in remote Australia to build skills, address barriers to employment and contribute to their communities through a range of flexible activities. It is designed around the unique social and labour market conditions in remote Australia and is part of the Australian Government’s agenda for increasing employment and breaking the cycle of welfare dependency.

CDP offers a broad range of flexible activities to increase participants’ skills and contribute to their community.

Since its introduction in 2015, CDP has supported participants into thousands of jobs.

2021-22 Budget update

On 11 May 2021, the Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP announced a new remote jobs program that will replace the CDP in 2023.

The Budget announcement can be found at: Jobs and education to secure future for Indigenous Australians

This Budget is delivering the step change needed to empower Indigenous Australians to deliver the changes they want to see in their lives. This includes securing quality and long-lasting jobs, greater support to strengthen Indigenous businesses and community organisations, and sharing decision making with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

This ensures Indigenous Australians are fully part of the Government’s economic recovery plan, delivering the support they need to build skills, address barriers and find employment, with thriving families and communities that are safer, healthier and more resilient.

The Government has heard what communities and stakeholders have said about the CDP and will co-design a new program with Indigenous Australians.

New remote jobs program

The new remote jobs program will be co-designed with Indigenous Australians to better tailor the support job seekers need to find and secure work as the economy recovers.

The program will be piloted in a number of locations from late 2021.

Modifications to Mutual Obligation Requirements for all CDP job seekers

All CDP job seekers will still be required to meet their Mutual Obligation Requirements, but there will be some changes. From 12 May 2021, job seekers will be able to participate in activities on voluntary basis, but will continue to have some compulsory requirements, such as attending appointments with service providers or looking for work.

Under the new arrangements, job seekers can volunteer to take part in activities but will still be required to meet their mutual obligations by:

  • agreeing to a job plan.
  • attending regular appointments and job interviews.
  • meeting job search requirements.
  • accepting suitable paid work when it is offered.
  • not voluntarily leave suitable employment.

CDP job seekers will continue to be supported by their providers to find employment and work within their communities.

1,000 Jobs Package

The 1,000 jobs package remains available to businesses and job seekers in remote Australia. The package increases employment opportunities in remote Australia for CDP participants.

An eligible employer could receive financial support for up $57,020.28 (GST Exclusive) over two years, including retention bonuses to help them hire a CDP participant in a new, ongoing job located in a CDP region. Further information, including application details, can be found on the 1,000 Jobs Package page and the GrantConnect website.

Greater choice and employment pathways

There are opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in remote Australia to use CDP to foster self-employment and develop small businesses. Unique social and market conditions in remote Australia present opportunities for self-employment, but mean tailored support to improve business skills, access to business networks and capital, and link business development with community economic development priorities, is required. There is already lots of work to support more entrepreneurial activity and economic development remote locations. Please see the Indigenous Business Sector Strategy (IBSS) for more information.

Where CDP operates

CDP covers 75 percent of Australia’s land mass including over 1,000 communities. The Program supports around approximately 40,000 people.

Local service providers deliver the Program and act as the single point of contact for job seekers, employers and host organisations in each community.

To find the contact details of the provider in your local area, you can use the Australian Government’s Jobsearch tool, which allows you to enter your town or postcode.

CDP participants

CDP participants receive personalised assistance from their service provider to help build their skills, get a job and participate to their maximum capacity. Some of the activities available for CDP participants include formal training, with the opportunity to gain qualifications, or foundational skills training, including language, literacy and numeracy and driver’s training, as part of their activity requirement.

More information

  • For enquires about the CDP in your region, contact your local provider or the NIAA Regional Offices.
  • You can contact the Job Seeker Hotline 13 62 68 for general information on employment services and the CDP.
  • The Department of Education, Skills and Employment, National Customer Service Line (NCSL) 1800 805 260 can help with questions about jobactive, the Government's employment services program that operates outside remote Australia.
  • Complaints can be sent to NIAAComplaints@niaa.gov.au.

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