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Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

The Community Development Program (CDP)

The Community Development Program (CDP) is our remote employment and community development service. CDP supports job seekers in remote Australia to build skills, address barriers 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 participants with activity requirements are expected to complete up to 20 hours per week of work-like activities that benefit their community. CDP offers a broad range of flexible activities to increase participants’ skills and contribute to their community.

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

Program reforms

The Community Development Program (CDP) as part of the 2018-19 Budget commenced on 1 March 2019.

These reforms included:

  • Introducing flexible hours.
  • Reducing participation hours up to 20 hours per week.
  • Supporting community advisory boards.
  • Changing the provider payment model.
  • Subsidising 1000 new jobs for CDP participants.

Greater community control

Remote Australians have told us they want more community control over CDP's delivery. We are strengthening local communities’ roles by:

  • Working to select Indigenous organisations to deliver CDP.
  • Supporting community advisory boards or other local engagement mechanisms to provide advice on local service delivery.
  • Continuing to drive community engagement in the design and delivery of activities through our performance framework for providers.

The Community Led Grants Application form is available to applicants following consultation with one of the NIAA's Regional Offices

Building better connections

As a part of the first phase of CDP reforms, 1,000 positions will be subsidised for CDP participants throughout remote Australia.

Employers operating in remote Australia are encouraged to use these subsidies and retention bonuses to create new ongoing jobs for CDP participants. These new jobs will grow the size and capacity of the remote labour market and support the development of more local businesses.

The subsidised jobs will mean CDP participants have access to real wages, equivalent to the minimum wage or above. These workers will also be paid superannuation and other entitlements by their employer.

Employers are able to apply for a two year subsidy made up of a combination of wage subsidies and retention bonuses up to a total maximum value of $56,000 (GST inclusive).

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. Through the Indigenous Business Sector Strategy (IBSS) the Government will support remote Australia by:

  • Piloting a business incubation model in selected CDP regions to assist participants foster self-employment opportunities and turn their activities into small businesses.
  • Expanding microbusiness support to more remote and regional areas to support Indigenous Australians take the first step into entrepreneurship.

CDP providers participating in the incubator pilot will support jobseekers who have a business idea with culturally appropriate, tailored business advice. Providers can link supported start-ups to potential sources of capital and resources such as Many Rivers Microfinance, and Indigenous Business Australia (IBA).

Where CDP operates

CDP covers 75 percent of Australia’s land mass including over 1000 communities. The Program supports around 30,000 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 to 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 Network.
  • You can contact the Employment Services Information Line (ESIL) 13 62 68 for general information on employment services and the CDP.
  • The Department of Jobs and Small Business’ Employment Services 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 complaints@pmc.gov.au.

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