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The Australian National University

Melissa Lucashenko

Document: Issue Brief

Relative educational status

One of the major labour market disadvantages experienced by Indigenous people is their relatively low levels of education. In the 1991 Census, Indigenous people were more than ten times less likely to have a degree and tertiary qualification than other Australians (See figure below). There are similarly low levels of education for both males and females in most post-secondary qualification categories.

Document: Issue Brief

The recent Budget cuts in the Indigenous affairs portfolio are likely to lead to a substantial rise in the unemployment rate among Indigenous people before the year 2000. The major factors underscoring poor labour force outcomes are:

Document: Issue Brief

Analysis of the geography of unemployment-related benefits and Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) scheme employment yields several insights into Indigenous labour market activity. By examining both together it is possible to estimate the proportion of the Indigenous labour force that depends on some form of government assistance.

Welfare dependence

Geography affects the number of Indigenous workers who are dependent on government assistance.

Document: Issue Brief

Child poverty and employment issues are continuing concerns of government. This study confirms the commonly held view, that income poverty is much higher in the Indigenous than the non-Indigenous population.

Document: Issue Brief

In the 1990s Indigenous households continue to experience high levels of poverty in comparison with other Australian households.

Document: Issue Brief

Accountability in Aboriginal affairs has been receiving national prominence over recent months. The Coalition government proposes to move from what it terms 'the symbolic' to effective service delivery in Aboriginal affairs. There is an ongoing and sometimes hostile public debate about the accountability of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) itself.

Document: Issue Brief

Under the Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) scheme Indigenous people give up their social security benefits (Jobsearch and Newstart) but work (usually part-time) for much the same money. Under the scheme people can do extra work and can make more money than when they are on social security benefits.

The effectiveness of the CDEP scheme

CAEPR research asks three questions about the CDEP scheme's effectiveness:

Document: Issue Brief

At June 1996, the Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) scheme had 28,041 participants from 276 Indigenous communities. Its annual budget was $321.8 million. Urban communities continue to join the scheme. In March 1996, 28 per cent of participants were located in rural and urban areas. Fourteen per cent resided in New South Wales and Victoria, compared to 24 per cent in the Northern Territory.