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Thursday, 5 February 2009
Page: 662


Mr Abbott asked the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, in writing, on 13 October 2008:

In respect of her response to question No.119 (Hansard, 26 August 2008, page 6259) concerning reinstatement of Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) in some Northern Territory communities: given CDEP income cannot currently be quarantined, how does the Government propose to ensure that people in the communities where CDEP will be reinstated will continue to spend at least 50 per sent of their Government-provided income on the necessities of life.


Ms Macklin (Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs) —The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

The government is committed to strengthening community safety and improving the protection of children and has introduced income management in the Northern Territory to ensure payments intended to benefit children are used exactly for that purpose.

Income management only applies to certain welfare and family payments, as specified under Part 3B of the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999. Payments from Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) are not relevant payments under Part 3B, so under current legislation, income management does not apply to CDEP wages.

However, under the proposed CDEP program reform model, new CDEP participants from 1 July 2009 would access CDEP while on income support, and would therefore be subject to income management where appropriate.

Participants on CDEP at 30 June 2009 would continue to receive CDEP wages, subject to CDEP continuing and to participants remaining eligible for the program and not having a break from CDEP for more that two consecutive weeks after 1 July 2009. CDEP wages would continue to be available until 30 June 2011 with participants being transitioned off CDEP wages over the three months after that date.

As currently proposed, CDEP would only be offered in remote regions—that is in areas where there is not an established economy. Participants in areas where CDEP would cease would be transitioned to income support, subject to eligibility, and so would receive intensive assistance through the new Employment Services to help them to get and keep jobs.