Wage Justice for CDP Workers

The Wage Justice Campaign gave a voice to remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers who had been placed on the racist and unfairly punitive Community Development Program (CDP). CDP workers are not actually classified as workers. They get well below the minimum wage for working for 20 hours a week for non-profit and now for-profit businesses.

CDP workers are not covered by the Fair Work Act, they do not have Federal OHS protections or workers compensation and they cannot take annual leave, sick leave, or carer’s leave. Those under the CDP are forced to work up to three times longer than city-based jobseekers to receive welfare payments. Since July 2015, less than 3,500 Indigenous participants found full-time or part-time work lasting six months or more. 

CDP workers had 70 times the financial penalties imposed upon them than non-remote dole workers.  Fines for missing activities under CDP – which covers a tiny fraction of the population – account for more than half the total penalties across the entire welfare system. 

FNWA & Australian Unions worked with CDP workers and the community to give a voice to these workers who are being exploited.  FNWA campaigned for 4 years to end the CDP and replace it with a program that works for Indigenous people rather than oppressing them. 

All Australians deserve the opportunity to have a good, steady job and the dignity of work. The CDP deprived tens of thousands of people of that opportunity.  

FNWA will continue to represent CDP workers that remain on the program until 2023, mutual obligations have been suspended and no worker should be penalised for missing an activity.