Jobs with Justice
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To the Honourable President and members of the Senate in Parliament assembled: The NT Intervention promised to deliver ‘real jobs’ for Aboriginal communities. Instead, thousands of waged jobs have been lost and Aboriginal organisations have been crippled as Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) close down. Under the new CDEP scheme designed by the federal Labor government, Aboriginal people no longer receive wages. They are being forced to work providing vital services such as rubbish collection, school bus runs, sewerage maintenance, construction and aged care in exchange for quarantined Centrelink payments. People are compelled to work 16 hours a week for $115 cash, plus $115 credit on a ‘BasicsCard’ which can only be used on ‘priority items’ in government approved stores. Aboriginal workers have described this as a return to the “ration-days’ when they were paid in food instead of cash. Centrelink is threatening to cut off payments entirely if people do not participate. Unclear guidelines and the vulnerable position of many workers have seen cases of people working 30 hrs or more for no extra money. This is far worse than anything the Liberals inflicted on workers under Workchoices. 500 ‘real jobs’ created to replace some of the lost CDEP positions in remote NT shire councils face the axe next year. The Commonwealth is refusing to guarantee ongoing funding of $8.5 million per year needed by the NT government to keep the jobs.[v] Many Aboriginal communities serviced by these shires already suffer atrocious living conditions – 500 more job losses will be devastating. We request that the Senate demand: - Guarantee the 500 threatened Shire jobs - End compulsory income management - End current CDEP arrangements forcing people to work for the BasicsCard - Turn all CDEP positions into fully waged jobs - Provide massive investment in job creation and service provision in all Aboriginal communities.
Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney (STICS)