The Indigenous Welfare Economy and the CDEP Scheme

The Indigenous Welfare Economy and the CDEP Scheme

Edited by: Frances Morphy, Will Sanders

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In recent debates about the Indigenous welfare economy, the Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) scheme has not been given the attention it deserves. It represents a major adaptation of the Australian welfare system to the particular social and economic circumstances of Indigenous people.

Part I of this volume contains overview papers which place the CDEP program in its wider cultural, sociopolitical, and economic contexts. The contributions in Part II address policy and policy-related issues which impact directly, or indirectly, on the structure and function of the CDEP scheme as a whole and of individual CDEP projects. Part III presents research based case-studies of particular CDEP projects in their regional contexts, drawn from the Northern Territory, South Australia, and Victoria. Part IV consists of short case studies, from the perspective of the participants themselves, of a number of CDEP organisations. These case studies provide an important perspective, taking up and providing a grass-roots view of many of the broader policy themes and concerns that are discussed elsewhere in the monograph.

The crucial issue, addressed by many of the contributions, is how Indigenous self determination and the rights agenda, which argues for the unique and inherent rights of Indigenous Australians, will sit with (or in opposition to) the ‘mutual obligation’ of the Howard government’s welfare reform. The volume thus represents a contribution to an ongoing and important debate in current Australian social policy.


ISBN (print):
ISBN (online):
Publication date:
May 2004
CAEPR Monograph No. 20
ANU Press
Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR)
Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR)
Business & Economics; Social Sciences: Indigenous Studies, Social Policy & Administration

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The Indigenous Welfare Economy and the CDEP Scheme »

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Part I: Overviews (PDF, 1.5MB)

  1. Welfare and social justice for Indigenous Australians – Brian Butler
  2. CDEP, racial discrimination, and social justice – William Jonas
  3. The changing social security policy context: Implications for the CDEP program – Peter Saunders
  4. Community development in the context of welfare dependence – David Martin
  5. The political dimensions of community development – Tim Rowse
  6. Adjusting balances: Reshaping the CDEP scheme after 20 good years – Will Sanders

Part II: Policy perspectives and issues (PDF, 1.2MB)

  1. Welfare dependence, mutual obligation, and the CDEP scheme: Lessons from community research and an overseas initiative – Diane Smith
  2. The Indigenous Employment Policy: A preliminary evaluation – Peter Shergold
  3. Reforming the CDEP scheme – Terry Whitby
  4. Myth-making and the delivery of banking and financial services to Indigenous Australians in regional and remote Australia – Neil Westbury
  5. Demographic challenges to the future of CDEP – John Taylor and Boyd Hunter
  6. Training by doing: Pathways through CDEP – Shirley Campbell and Jerry Schwab

Part III: Regional studies (PDF, 1.4MB)

  1. ‘Mutual obligation’, the CDEP scheme, and development: Prospects in remote Australia – Jon Altman
  2. CDEP and careers: Some good news and some bad news from Torres Strait – Bill Arthur
  3. CDEP as conduit to the ‘real’ economy? The Port Augusta case – Matthew Gray and Elaine Thacker
  4. Yuendumu CDEP: The Warlpiri work ethic and Kardiya staff turnover – Yasmine Musharbash
  5. Outstations and CDEP: The Western Arrernte in central Australia – Diane Austin-Broos
  6. CDEP in Victoria: A case study of Worn Gundidj – Raymond Madden

Part IV: Community Perspectives (PDF, 1.2MB)

  1. The community game: Aboriginal self definition at the local level Frances – Peters-Little
  2. CDEP and the sub-economy: Milking the CDEP cow dry – Phil Bartlett
  3. Measuring expropriation: Enumeration of opportunity costs imposed on the remote community of Burringurrah, Western Australia – Daniel Kean
  4. A part of the local economy: Junjuwa Community/Bunuba Inc., Western Australia – Rowena Mouda
  5. Self determination and CDEP: Tjurma Homelands Council, South Australia – Katalin Mindszenty
  6. Job creation and ‘mutual obligation’: Tapatjatjaka Community Government Council, Northern Territory – Harry Scott
  7. Regional development and CDEP: Tjuwanpa Outstation Resource Centre, Northern Territory– John Nicholas
  8. Catering for mobility and diversity: Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation CDEP, Northern Territory – Rupert Manners
  9. Resourcing CDEP: The case of East Gippsland Aboriginal CDEP Co-operative, Victoria – Lionel Dukakis
  10. Adequate funding as a question of equity: Lake Tyers Aboriginal Trust CDEP, Victoria – Siva Nalliah
  11. Supporting employment inside and outside the community: Woorabinda CDEP, Queensland – Elizabeth Young
  12. Creating opportunities for training and employment: Tharawal Local Aboriginal Land Council CDEP, Western Sydney – Wendy Ann Lewis
  13. Using the system to our advantage: Redfern Corporation CDEP, Sydney – Bruce Loomes
  14. CDEP: A journey not a destination – Stephen Humphries

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