The Community Development Program (CDP)

The Community Development Program is our remote employment and community development service. The CDP supports job seekers in remote Australia to build skills, address barriers and contribute to their communities through a range of flexible activities. It is designed around the unique social and labour market conditions in remote Australia and is an essential part of the Australian Government’s agenda for increasing employment and breaking the cycle of welfare dependency.

Under the current CDP, job seekers with activity requirements are expected to complete up to 25 hours per week of work-like activities that benefit their community. The CDP offers a broad range of flexible activities to increase job seekers’ skills and contribute to their community.

Since its introduction, the CDP has supported job seekers into thousands of jobs. Job seeker participation and engagement has also grown significantly since the start of the program.

Program reforms

The Minister for Indigenous Affairs announced reforms to the Community Development Program (CDP) as part of the 2018-19 Budget.

The CDP reforms actively seek to address challenges faced by job seekers living in remote Australia and include enhancements to the current Program. Changes to the CDP will help more people living in remote Australia move into employment.

The reforms have been carefully developed and informed by discussions with communities and Indigenous leaders. The reforms include subsidising 6000 jobs across remote Australia, as well as other changes:

  • reducing income reporting requirements to Centrelink for those job seekers who are required to participate in the CDP for less than 15 hours per week
  • ensuring job seekers are not required to participate beyond their capacity through improved assessment processes to clearly identify any barriers to employment
  • reducing required participation from up to 25 hours per week, to up to 20 hours per week.

Implementation will commence early 2019 and will focus on greater community control, better connections, and greater choice for CDP participants.

Greater community control

Remote Australians have told us they want more community control over how the program is delivered. We are strengthening local communities’ roles in how CDP is delivered by:

  • ensuring CDP is delivered by local Indigenous organisations
  • establishing a $2 million Capital Investment Fund to support communities to deliver the reforms
  • establishing community advisory boards or other local engagement mechanisms to provide advice on local service delivery
  • continuing to drive community engagement in the design and delivery of activities through our performance framework for providers.

Building better connections

We are working to connect more remote Australians to employment opportunities. As part of the reforms, the Government is working with communities to support 6000 jobs for CDP participants.

These new jobs will grow the size and capacity of the remote labour market and support the development of more local businesses.

The subsidised jobs will commence early 2019 and will mean CDP participants have access to real wages, equivalent to the minimum wage or above. They will no longer have to rely on welfare as their only source of income. These workers will also be paid superannuation and other entitlements by their employer.

Employers will receive up to $26,769 over two years to help expand their business and hire new staff in remote Australia. This includes a subsidy of up to $21,769 and retention bonuses of up to $5000 (if employers keep the same employee for two years).

These 6000 job subsidies will be available to most Australian businesses operating in remote Australia.

Please contact us if you are interested in learning more about how this initiative could help your business to expand in remote Australia.

Greater choice and employment pathways

There is already lots of work being done to support more entrepreneurial activity and economic development remote locations. Through the Indigenous Business Sector Strategy (IBSS) the Government will support remote Australia by:

  • piloting a business incubation model in selected CDP regions to assist participants foster self-employment opportunities and turn their activities into small businesses
  • expanding micro business support to more remote and regional areas to support Indigenous Australians take the first step into entrepreneurship.

CDP providers participating in the pilot will be able to access microfinance and specialist support through the Indigenous Entrepreneurs Fund (IEF) business advisers.

They will also be able to access capital funding through the IEF to enable them to provide back office support. In exchange for this funding, providers will be expected to transition the businesses into independently running enterprises within 24 months.

Providers can also become a conduit to the business hubs and business advisers for job seekers. These connections along with existing support to employ job seekers will support further job and business creation over time in remote communities.

Where the CDP operates

CDP covers 75 percent of Australia’s land mass including over 1000 communities. The Program supports around 30,000 people.

Local service providers deliver the Program and act as the single point of contact for job seekers, employers and host organisations in each community.

To find the contact details of the provider in your local area, you can use the Australian Government’s Jobsearch tool, which allows you to enter your town or postcode.

CDP Participants

CDP participants receive personalised assistance from their service provider to help build their skills, get a job and to participate to their maximum capacity. Some of the activities available for CDP participants include formal training, with the opportunity to gain qualifications, or foundational skills training, including language, literacy and numeracy and driver’s training, as part of their activity requirement.

More information

  • For enquires about the CDP in your region, contact your local provider or the PM&C Regional Network.
  • For general enquires about the CDP please email
  • You can contact the Employment Services Information Line (ESIL) 13 62 68 for general information on employment services and the CDP.
  • The Department of Jobs and Small Business’ Employment Services National Customer Service Line (NCSL) 1800 805 260 can help with questions about jobactive, the Government's employment services program that operates outside remote Australia.
  • For general enquires or feedback about the changes to remote employment services, email: Complaints can be sent to

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