COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT EMPLOYMENT PROJECTS (CDEP)
The Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) scheme is a program provided by the Federal Government for (primarily) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in remote, rural and urban areas. It enables an Indigenous community or organisation to pool the unemployment benefit entitlements of individuals into direct wages for those people who choose to participate in local employment in various community development or organisation programs as an alternative to receiving individual income support payments.
Prior to July 2009, the relationship between CDEP organisations and the individual participants who were undertaking paid work was treated by ABS as an employer/employee relationship. The individual participants were considered to be in paid employment, even though they were paid for their work from funds originating from unemployment benefits.
From July 2009 onwards, the CDEP scheme was discontinued in non-remote locations where the economy is well established. Individuals in these communities who were formerly paid wages under CDEP and are now instead receiving alternative income support benefits are no longer considered to be employed, unless they have commenced another form of paid employment.
In remote communities, participants who joined CDEP prior to July 2009 will continue receiving wages until June 2017 under the new Remote Jobs and Communities Program (RJCP) and continue to be classified as employed. New participants will receive income support benefits instead of CDEP wages, and are therefore not considered to be in an employer/employee relationship and will not be classed as employed.
However, there are practical difficulties with applying these standard LFS concepts and definitions in Indigenous communities, particularly in remote regions. When interviewers encounter significant cultural, language or operational difficulties in remote communities, a 'short form' is used to collect the minimum data required to derive basic labour force characteristics, and this does not always capture the complex issues that are involved in defining CDEP participation.