Plans to replace the current Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) has successful remote community organisation Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation (BAC) worried. The scrapping of the program will affect the 480 CDEP participants and 150 salaried staff in the community. Read more below or watch their video.


Importance of CDEP Program

Glenys Brooking, BAC Training Manager outlines the significance of the program to the community. “CDEP is extremely important to the BAC as it provides a lot of projects and work for the community in particular the homelands community.” Some of the projects supported by CDEP are Ye’ Ya Municipal Services, the Babbarra Women’s Centre, the BAC Nursery, Crab Harvesting and Outstation Services.

Leila Nimbadja has been working for 16 years within the CDEP program operating the local Nursery and is currently studying a Certificate II in Horticulture, “Women are so proud of me that I have been working for years and am still working. But now I have some girls with me and I am teaching them conservation and land management.” “We like to stay on CDEP”, says Elizabeth Wullunmingu, CDEP Textiles Worker, “We don’t want to be on Centrelink”.


Loss of Program to Reduce Revenue to Local Economy

The loss of CDEP will mean 311,688 hours per year less across a range of services to an already marginalised region reducing revenue to the local economy by $1,248,000 this year. “Everything the BAC does is ploughed back into the community, the social enterprise,” says Glenys, “We have a supermarket that makes a profit but that money goes back into our organisation to look after Maningrida and in particularly the homeland and surrounding 10,000 km2 area that we support. It’s not going to improve the social situation of the people, certainly not their confidence or their self-esteem.”

BAC Human Resources Manager, Maria Harvey, echoes the sentiment, “my observations are that compared to other communities, there is reasonable harmony because there is so many things to do. As a result, there is going to be a very huge impact on the social aspect of the community. Similarly, the crisis intervention and just the things that come from remoteness and boredom resulting in anti-social aspects of behaviour and living.”


About Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation

The Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation (BAC) was established in 1974 and incorporated in 1979. Over the past 31 years BAC has developed a portfolio of services and support of eight hundred clients living on the thirty two outstations, in an area of approximately 10,000 km2. Being a long-term user of Calxa, BAC’s finance department has been able to keep their Board well informed with financial reports allowing them to focus on good governance and transparency. For more information contact (08) 8943 1688.


What is CDEP

The Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) program strengthens and supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander remote communities through community development and participation opportunities that develop skills, improve capacity, work readiness and employability and link with local priorities.

CDEP is one of the key Indigenous employment programs contributing to the Australian Government’s aim of halving the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous employment within a decade. In future, CDEP Wages will be phased out from 1 April 2012 on a community by community basis and CDEP participants will transition to income support payments. The Transition from CDEP Wages to Income Support Payments is to ensure that all Job Seekers across Australia have the same payment and participation requirements while they are looking for a job. The Government has allocated a net $6.5 million over nine months to cover costs of the extension.