Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert has welcomed the ACTU establishing the First Nations Workers Alliance, a new union to protect people struggling to find work who are forced into the Community Development Programme (CDP) in regional and remote Australia.
“The CDP imposes unreasonable mutual obligations that are not imposed on job seekers in the metropolitan area. I have long said it is discriminatory to Aboriginal people out bush and has done more harm than good.
“The number of penalties for those on the CDP are very high, because many cannot meet harsh mutual obligations. Experts were raising alarm bells that this meant many were being pushed further into poverty and food wasn’t being put on the table for kids.
“It has always seemed bizarre and unfair to me that these different rules exist and it has been detrimental to those forced to take part. I am glad there is a union that will stick up for those caught up in this program.
“The senate inquiry into the CDP should give a clearer picture of the structural flaws and hopefully will make recommendations on how to improve the conditions of those in remote and regional Australia who are struggling to get by”.