Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) program

Remote Jobs and Communities Program (RJCP)

From 1 July 2013 the Australian Government’s new Remote Jobs and Communities Program (RJCP) will provide a more streamlined and flexible approach to employment, participation and community-development services in 60 remote regions across Australia.

The new program builds on the strengths of four existing programs: Job Services Australia (JSA), Disability Employment Services (DES), the Indigenous Employment Program (IEP) and the Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) program.

For further information on the RJCP, please visit the RJCP page or the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations website.

For information regarding the review of remote participation and employment services and the consultation process behind the reform of the CDEP program, go to the DEEWR website.

CDEP Transition Support

On 18 June 2013 the Australian Government announced transitional support for CDEP providers.

To ensure a smooth transition to the RJCP in remote regions, the Government is providing a two-month extension of funding for organisations currently delivering CDEP, which are not continuing as the lead RJCP provider in the region. CDEP organisations that are involved in sub-contracting to the lead RJCP provider will also have their funding extended. For further information on transition support in remote regions visit the RJCP page.

In non-remote locations outside the RJCP remote regions, CDEP providers will have their existing CDEP funding agreements extended for up to 12 months.

CDEP program in non-remote Locations

There are currently eight CDEP providers in locations outside the RJCP remote regions:

CDEP provider

Non-remote community

Tangentyere Council Incorporated

Alice Springs

Flinders Island Aboriginal Association Incorporated

Cape Barren Island, Lady Barron and Whitemark

Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council


Murdi Paaki Regional Enterprise Corporation Limited

Collarenebri, Coonamable, Gulargambone, Lightning Ridge, Mungindi and Walgett

Griffith Skills Training Centre Incorporated

Lake Cargelligo

Cairns Regional Community Development and Employment Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation

Mount Garnet

Buyinbin Aboriginal Corporation

Muli Muli, Baryulgil and Malabugilmah

Central Queensland Indigenous Development Limited


The extension of CDEP funding in these locations will ensure that CDEP participants remain involved in community activities and, if they are eligible, continue to receive CDEP wages from 1 July 2013. In many communities CDEP participants are integral to the delivery of services that are important to the community and the Government does not want these services to be disrupted.

During the 12 months to 30 June 2014, the Australian Government will engage with the eight CDEP organisations and their communities to work out the approach to deliver employment and participation services in these locations.

The Government recognises the important contribution made over the years by local CDEP organisations. It will provide expert financial and business planning advice to these organisations through the Office of the Registrar of Aboriginal Corporations (ORIC) appointed expert advisors.

In the non-remote CDEP locations, JSA, DES and the IEP will continue to be available to support the employment aspirations of CDEP participants.

Extension of CDEP Wages

The Australian Government is continuing the payment of CDEP wages, through the extension of the CDEP Scheme, until 30 June 2017. The extension of CDEP Wages will provide stability and certainty for CDEP wages participants, many of whom have been participating in CDEP for long periods of time.

Participants who are job-ready will be encouraged to move off CDEP wages into employment with proper wages and conditions. The extension of CDEP wages will provide stability where employment is not available, not suitable, seasonal or otherwise short term.

In non-remote locations, CDEP wages will be paid to eligible participants who participate in CDEP activities. CDEP wages are managed by CDEP providers. Further information on CDEP wages in non-remote locations can be found below:

In RJCP remote regions, CDEP wages will be paid to eligible participants who participate in approved remote employment and participation activities in the remote regions. CDEP wages are managed by RJCP providers.  For further information about the extension of CDEP wages in remote regions, visit the RJCP page.

Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) program

The Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) program helps Indigenous job seekers to gain the skills, training and capabilities needed to find sustainable employment and improves the economic and social well-being of communities. CDEP is one of the key Indigenous employment programs contributing to the Australian Government’s aim of halving the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous employment within a decade. The CDEP program provides services and projects through two streams: the Work Readiness Stream and the Community Development Stream.

Work Readiness

Work Readiness services help job seekers to develop their skills, improve their chances of getting a job and move to work outside of the CDEP program. Work Readiness services include pre-vocational and vocational training and work experience.

CDEP participants receiving CDEP wages who are placed in work experience placements, continue to receive CDEP wages for the number of hours required to earn the Average Per Participant (APP) rate. The Work Experience Employer is responsible for paying additional wages to the participant for any hours worked above what is required to earn the APP rate.

Where a CDEP participant on income support is placed in paid work experience, the Work Experience Employer may access the CDEP Work Experience Subsidy, administered by DEEWR. This subsidy encourages employers to offer Work Experience placements and pay wages directly to CDEP participants

Community Development

Community Development focuses on supporting and developing Indigenous communities and organisations.

CDEP providers are resourced to ensure community work is consistent with local job opportunities and builds skills through practical experience. Community Development Projects should meet community and individual needs and link to community priorities. Priorities are identified in Community Action Plans that have been developed by providers in consultation with the community. The plans support the needs and aspirations of the community and set goals, actions and targets to improve the quality of community life.

This helps strengthen Indigenous communities through increased individual involvement in community projects and employment opportunities. Community Action Plans are reviewed and updated annually, to reflect changing community priorities. Progress against goals is also monitored regularly.

CDEP providers work closely with community members and other relevant providers to ensure services are best targeted to individual needs. CDEP providers can enter into Memorandums of Understanding with other service providers to ensure CDEP participants are able to obtain services that will improve training and employment outcomes. This can include supporting families to access other support services available in their region and addressing barriers to employment and training.

CDEP providers are supported to build their own skills and capacity to deliver Work Readiness Services and Community Development Projects, and to develop organisational plans and strategies to enable them to take advantage of emerging opportunities. Providers can also engage experts to provide specialised skills that help strengthen their organisations.

The Minister has approved $172.4 million over three years for full implementation of the three year community action plans developed in consultation with CDEP participants and their communities.

Further information:

CDEP enquiries

For more information about the CDEP program, please contact your nearest Indigenous Coordination Centre (ICC) by calling toll free on 1800 079 098.
For the following locations call toll free:

Nhulunbuy - 1800 089 148

Kalgoorlie - 1800 193 357

Kununurra - 1800 193 348

TTY users: phone 1800 555 677 then ask for the 1800 number listed above that you want to contact.

Related information

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