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1387.3 - Queensland in Review, 2003  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 04/04/2005  Ceased
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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people generally experience higher levels of unemployment and lower levels of labour force participation than the non-Indigenous population. Limited employment opportunities in remote areas where many Indigenous people live and lower levels of educational qualification both contribute to this. Recognising these barriers to alternative employment, the Community Development and Employment Projects (CDEP) scheme was established to provide employment on local community projects. The figures below were reported in the 2002 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS).



13 LABOUR FORCE STATUS, Indigenous persons aged 15 years or over, Queensland, 2002
Remote
Non-remote
Total
%
%
%

Employed
57.6
41.6
45.7
CDEP
*34.1
*4.3
11.8
Non-CDEP
23.4
37.4
33.9
Unemployed
*5.9
19.1
15.8
Not in the labour force
36.5
39.3
38.6
Indigenous persons aged 15 years or over (%)
100.0
100.0
100.0
Indigenous persons aged 15 years or over (number)
19,200
56,900
76,000

* estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution
Source: National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, Queensland, 2002, cat. no. 4714.3.55.001


At the time of interview in 2002, 46% of Indigenous people aged 15 years or over were employed. This included 12% participating in the Community Development and Employment Projects (CDEP) scheme (further information is provided below). Another 16% were unemployed, and 39% were not in the labour force.


People aged 25-44 years recorded the highest proportion of employed people (57%). By contrast, just one-third (33%) of the younger age group (aged 15-24 years) were employed, while 28% were unemployed and another 39% were not in the labour force. For those aged 45 years or over, 39% were employed, a small percentage were unemployed and more than half were not in the labour force.
LABOUR FORCE STATUS, Indigenous persons aged 15 years and over, Queensland, 2002
Graph: Labour force status


The total proportion of Indigenous people aged 15 and over who were in the labour force remained constant at around 60% in both 1994 and 2002. However, there were positive changes in employment status. Between 1994 and 2002, the proportion of Indigenous people in employment rose from 40% to 46%, with small increases in both mainstream and CDEP employment. The proportion of unemployed Indigenous people fell from 20% to 16%. In 1994, 8% of Indigenous people in the labour force had been unemployed for one year or longer - by 2002 this had reduced to 4%. (See table 6 in the data cube 4714.3.55.001 - charges apply).

Comparison of Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations (age standardised figures for ages 18 years or over, Queensland, 2002)
  • Indigenous people aged 18 years or over were less likely to be employed than non-Indigenous people (44% compared with 63%).
  • The proportion of Indigenous adult population who were unemployed (11%) was more than twice that for non-Indigenous adults (4%).
  • A greater proportion of Indigenous adults reported not being in the labour force (45% compared with 32%).

Source: General Social Survey, 2002 and National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2002. (See table 5 in the data cube 4714.3.55.001 - charges apply).

Note: As the Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations have different age structures, it can be misleading to make direct comparisons concerning characteristics which are largely age-dependent. Rather, age-standardised rates are used in this comparison.

The Community Development and Employment Projects (CDEP) scheme

In recognition of the particular difficulties faced by Indigenous people, the Community Development and Employment Projects (CDEP) scheme was established as an alternative to paying unemployment allowance. The CDEP scheme provides community organisations with funds to pay participants working on community projects.

The CDEP scheme provides jobs for 1 in 4 of all employed Indigenous people. In non-remote areas, 9 out of 10 employed Indigenous people were in mainstream (non-CDEP) employment. By contrast, in remote areas the majority (6 out of 10) were CDEP participants, reflecting both the location of projects and lack of mainstream employment opportunities in remote areas.


EMPLOYMENT CONDITIONS, Indigenous persons aged 15 years or over, Queensland, 2002
CDEP
Non-CDEP
Total
%
%
%

Hours usually worked
Part-time - 1 to 34 hours
79.4
35.1
46.5
Full-time - 35 hours or more
20.6
64.9
53.5
Work allows for cultural responsibilities to be met
62.4
38.9
45.0
Equivalised gross household income(a)
First and second quintile
75.3
38.7
47.4
Third to fifth quintile
24.7
61.4
52.6
Employed Indigenous persons aged 15 years or over (number)
9,000
25,800
34,700

(a) Based on national quantile boundaries from the 2002 General Social Survey.
Source: National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, Queensland, 2002, cat. no. 4714.3.55.001


There were significant differences in the employment conditions of people in CDEP and non-CDEP employment. The majority of people involved in CDEP employment (79%) worked part-time hours, compared to 35% of those in non-CDEP employment. Those with CDEP employment were more likely to be in low income households (as defined in the section
INCOME AND FINANCIAL STRESS).

Seven out of ten employed Indigenous people had cultural responsibilities. While 62% of those with CDEP employment stated that work allowed them to meet cultural responsibilities, this was the case for only 39% of those with non-CDEP employment.

Between 1994 and 2002, the proportion of Indigenous people employed in mainstream (non-CDEP) jobs increased from 29% to 34%.


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