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Monday, 30 August 1993
Page: 593

(Question No. 301)

Senator Panizza asked the Minister representing the Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, upon notice, on 27 May 1993:

  With reference to the 1991-92 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission annual report, which details expenditure of $204.5 million for the year on 20,139 participants in Community Development Employment Projects, an average cost per week of $195.28 per participant, what are the maximum and minimum weekly rates paid to individual participants in the scheme.

Senator Collins —The Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

  In the 1991/92 financial year the total Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) budget was $204.5 million. A breakdown of the budget is Wages $150.590 million, Oncosts (now

CDEP Recurrent ) $30.877 million and Support (now Capital) $23.055 million.

  The Wages grant is paid by communities to participants for work done; the Oncosts or CDEP Recurrent grant is used to meet the recurrent costs of administering CDEPs and servicing CDEP Work Plans, and the Support or Capital grant is used for large capital items needed to achieve the goals of the CDEP Work Plan.

  The CDEP Wages grant is allocated to a community based on the number of persons on the participant schedule multiplied by an Average Per Participant (APP) rate determined by the Department of Finance for remote and non-remote areas. As at 1 January 1992 the Remote Rate was $158.00 and Non-remote Rate was $142.90. The APP rates are adjusted in line with the Consumer Price Index, and is currently $162.01 for remote areas and $145.81 for non-remote areas.

  Although the wages grant to the community is on the basis of an APP rate this does not mean that every participant receives the APP rate. Under the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission's Special Conditions for CDEP Grants, the grantee organisation must offer work to all persons listed in the approved CDEP Participant Schedule and every person must be given the opportunity to receive income at a level which is at least equivalent to his/her Job Search or Newstart entitlement. For some participants this will mean an income in excess of the APP rate and for others an income below the APP rate.

  Participants are able to be paid above their otherwise Job Search or Newstart Allowance, provided the community have so arranged their wage structure. If the community has structured its wages in such a way that it generates savings it may be able to pay some participants additional weekly income from the Wages grant for work done as follows:

  Single participants may earn up to twice the remote participant rate; and

  Married couples may earn a combined income of up to four times the remote participant rate.

  CDEP participants may also earn additional income from Outside the CDEP Wages grant funds, including "top-up" from CDEP Recurrent grant funds or other sources or from non-CDEP employment. There are however limits as to how much additional income from "other sources" the participant may earn and still remain eligible for CDEP.