Friday, December 15, 2017

Australia's slave labour

An Indigenous work-for-the-dole scheme variously described as "racist", "flawed" and "nonsensical" is driving communities further into poverty. The scheme forces unemployed people in remote areas to work up to three times longer than city-based jobseekers to receive welfare. 

A Senate committee has demanded an overhaul of the Community Development Program (CDP), saying the scheme is "causing real harm to people". "CDP cannot and should not continue in its current form," the report stated. Most of the approximately 15,000 people required to undertake CDP activities are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

In two years, about 350,000 financial penalties have been slapped on participants for missing activities or being late. "We've seen way too much poverty and increasing hunger — people are going hungry as a result of these breaches," Labor committee member Malarndirri McCarthy said.

Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Sally McManus demanded the "racist" scheme be scrapped.
"The racist work-for-the-dole scheme does not pay wages for the 25 hours of work participants have to do every week in order to receive welfare benefits," Ms McManus said. "And it forces workers to work without OHS protections, leave entitlements superannuation or worker's compensation in the event of injury at work."

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