IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Indigenous Work-for-the-Dole and Mutual Obligation: Prospects for Employment Generation in Remote Australia


  • Jon Altman

    () (The Australian National University)


This article focuses on Indigenous communities in remote Australia who participate in the Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) scheme, a form of work-for-the-dole that was first established in 1977 and is now administered by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission. At the time of the 1996 Census there were 265 CDEPs Australia-wide and about 31,000 participants. The analysis here focuses on the 70% of these CDEPs that are located in remote regions. Initially a census-based assessment is provided of the economic impacts of the scheme. This indicates that the scheme has discernible economic and employment benefits. Next, an attempt is made to reconcile the mutual obligation nature of the scheme with the emerging reform of social policy (also based on principles of mutual obligation) currently being implemented that is based on recommendations made by the McClure Committee and endorsed in the writings of influential Indigenous spokesperson Noel Pearson. The article ends by outlining how, in this reformist policy context, the CDEP scheme could itself be modified to provide a more effective framework for Indigenous economic development in remote regions and makes brief comment on lessons from the CDEP scheme for the wider Australian community.

Suggested Citation

  • Jon Altman, 2000. "Indigenous Work-for-the-Dole and Mutual Obligation: Prospects for Employment Generation in Remote Australia," Australian Journal of Labour Economics (AJLE), Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School, vol. 4(2), pages 89-98, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:ozl:journl:v:4:y:2001:i:2:p:89-98

    Download full text from publisher

    To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
    1. Check below whether another version of this item is available online.
    2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
    3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. J. Carter & D. Claudie & N. Smith, 2006. "An indigenous role in partnerships for sustainable homelands occupation in Australia," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(3), pages 162-176.

    More about this item


    Economics of Minorities; Particular Labor Markets; Development Planning and Policy; Regional Development Policy;

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J49 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Other
    • O29 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Other
    • R58 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Regional Development Planning and Policy


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ozl:journl:v:4:y:2001:i:2:p:89-98. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Alan Duncan). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.