I enter this minefield reluctantly, and only to bring people …

Comment on CDP work for the dole scheme gets a hammering by Bob Beadman.

I enter this minefield reluctantly, and only to bring people back to earth.
Surely the key features of such a scheme should be to:
• Create a system of MUTUAL OBLIGATION, a requirement that ‘you do something (pt work) in return for what your neighbour provides to you’ (welfare payments).
• Address the horrendous social consequences of idleness.
Instead the scheme seems to have become PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION 101.
Overpromoted and overregulated to the extent that everyone can find something to fault. It was never an employment agency, or a work incubator, or getting people work ready. That spin may have a place in the cities, but never in the bush where there is a very limited employment market.
A short history. Training Allowances were replaced with Unemployment Benefits in the mid 1970s.
Aborigines couldn’t believe that the Government preferred to pay them to sit down rather than to work.
Communities deteriorated, and pleaded that Unemployment Benefits be aggregated. CDEP was born.
A percentage was added for materials, and another for administration, and the number of particpants inflated.
Government capped numbers, introduced a Remote Area Exemption (from the work test), mixed CDEP and UB (with the obvious resentments arising), fiddled further, abandoned CDEP, and then introduced RJCP (described by some as the greatest public policy train wreck ever), then CDP.
In considering improvements to CDP, everyone must be mindful that CDEP had become a destination, rather than a step up. And it had become a suppressant on the creation of real jobs – councils, schools and health clinics (and others) could borrow staff at will rather than seek appropriate budgets for their needs.
Looking to the near future, when the country can no longer afford the current welfare net, I think every child needs to see a parent working, to replace the idea that Government will keep them for life too.

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Nor have I been able to understand why alcohol advertising is still permitted, when tobacco advertising was banned many years ago.
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You should have stayed on Erwin, as trying as that might have been.
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That would have balanced your reporting.


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This wonderful tribute to an extraordinary man required the touch of a rare journalist – one with deep knowledge, and empathy. We are very fortunate to have both of you.


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