Remote work-for-the-dole scheme 'devastating Indigenous communities'

Dec 02, 2016, 11:48 PM

The Federal Government's remote work-for-the-dole scheme is devastating Indigenous communities, with financial penalties causing insurmountable debt and social division, a report has found.

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AUDIO: Remote work-for-the-dole scheme failing Indigenous communities: report (PM) The Australian National University researchers described Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion's Community Development Programme (CDP) as a "policy disaster".

ANU researcher and co-author Dr Kirrily Jordan said financial penalties were being applied unfairly and an example of this could be found in the Ngaanyatjarra Lands in Western Australia.

"The rental arrears across the whole lands, across 12 communities, have gone up from $50,000 to $350,000, in the short space of time since CDP's been introduced," she said.

ANU researcher Dr Inge Kral said she had spent 30 years working in remote communities and the latest scheme had left people struggling to feed themselves.

"People with no money in families, there's no money for food, there's certainly no money for clothes — people are starving, people are begging," she said.

"The whole infrastructure around stores is collapsing because there isn't the reliable secure income coming in."