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Yet another indication that the government’s scrapping of CDEP is completely ill-considered and will cause more detriment than it will alleviate.
Port Hedland has a CDEP funded alcohol rehabilitation shelter which would have lost a substantial portion of its funding, had the Western Australian government not stepped in and taken up the slack.
The Western Australian Government will increase its funding of a sobering-up centre in Port Hedland, in the state’s north-west, because of the loss of indirect support from the Federal Government.
Many community organisations in regional towns rely on employing Aboriginal workers whose wages are partly paid by Commonwealth Development and Employment Projects (CDEP) in July.
The sobering-up centre will get $130,000 over two years to help pay for six former CDEP workers who worked on an alcohol patrol.
Many have said it before, but the scrapping of CDEP is not consistent with the federal government’s stated position, which aims to move people away from welfare. CDEP is not welfare, it is, for all intents and purposes, paid and steady employment. The work-for-the-dole scheme onto which former-CDEP workers will be place, is welfare, and carries the same responsibilities for the recipients, the same paltry rights, as well as the lowered sense of self-worth that ‘unemployed’ status inevitably brings.
But beyond that, this example is doubly inconsistent, since one of the key findings of the Ampe Akelyernemane Meke Mekarle report was the devastating effect of alcohol abuse in communities. They didn’t mention the detrimental effect of CDEP. Surely then, keeping this particular shelter open would be more important for the federal government than getting workers off so-called ‘sit-down’ money that CDEP allegedly is.
If, that is, they are genuine in their concern, and I’ve always had my doubts about that.