When the Whitlam government introduced CDEP in the NT circa …

Comment on CDP work for the dole scheme gets a hammering by John Bell.

When the Whitlam government introduced CDEP in the NT circa 1972, the concept we were sold was that a block of money equivalent to the combined unemployment benefits payable to Community X would be allocated to Community X.
The Community X Council would then get together to create a number of jobs between which the funding would be divided as wages.
The Council would then decide who would be employed in those jobs.
At the time, CDEP was presented as socialism at its finest, with the Community taking control.
As the meerkat lad says in the ad on tellie: “Simples!”
So, 45 years on, what went wrong?

John Bell Also Commented

CDP work for the dole scheme gets a hammering
@ Bob Beadman. Bob provides thoughtful detail to the history of the various Federal government employment initiatives that began with Liberal Minister William Wentworth’s Training Allowance Scheme in 1967.
The first training allowance payments began to about 30 communities throughout the NT in late February 1968.
The training allowance scheme was an effort to head off trade union activism in remote traditional communities which would have occurred in an award wage environment.
The Whitlam government of 1972 and then the appointment of Charlie Perkins as effectively the first human rights commissioner in 1976 made the politics of equal wages in remote communities a major white idealistic battleground that raged from then on in academia and in the human rights lobby.
The industry of Aboriginal shame and blame was born. CDEP and all that followed was a product of those emotive political times. A patterned approach to economic productivity and community wellbeing was established and entrenched. Nothing has changed. My opinion only.


Recent Comments by John Bell

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Then in 2003 I visited Japan and stumbled across a small maritime museum on the coast 80 km north of Tokyo. I was astounded to see a huge 12th century map outline of the eastern Australian coastline from the tip of Cape Yorke down to approximately the border of present day Victoria.
The young with-it Japanese curator told me that local fishing boats went fishing all the way down the Australian coast for centuries before the emperors banned overseas sailing after the Divine Wind attempted invasion by the Chinese.
Suspended from the three storey ceiling was a replica of one of those original fishing boats. Tiny. My mind boggled.
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@ Bob Taylor: Thank you for that, mate. You mention three great Alician names in sport – past, present and future: Rhonda, Dick and Emma.
Three wonderful ambassadors who have enriched and continue to grow Alice’s proud sporting heritage.


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