The Community Development Programme (CDP)

The Community Development Programme 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 found 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 CDP, job seekers with activity requirements are expected to do up to 25 hours per week of work-like activities that benefit their community. The CDP offers a broad range of flexible activities to not only increase job seekers’ skills but also 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.

Reforms to the programme

The Minister for Indigenous Affairs announced reforms to the Community Development Programme (CDP).

These reforms are designed to drive employment in remote Australia, improve the skills and employability of job seekers, and increase their participation in the community. They recognise that remote job seekers have varying capabilities and need tailored support while they transition from welfare into real jobs.

Implementation will commence from 2019. The reforms include:

  • 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 the required participation from up to 25 hours per week, to up to 20 hours per week.

In addition to these reforms, 6,000 jobs will be supported across remote Australia through a new wage subsidy program. These jobs are for CDP participants only, and will ensure every worker receives the minimum wage or higher. These workers will also have access to standard workplace entitlements and conditions, including superannuation.

For further information see the media release and fact sheet:

Remote job seekers

Providers work with remote job seekers to ensure activities are meeting their needs and aspirations. They continue to work with remote communities to increase the number and range of activities available. They are also promoting these opportunities to the CDP participants while helping them to understand what they need to do to continue receiving income support.

The CDP participants in remote Australia receive personalised assistance from their provider to help build their skills, get a job and to participate to their maximum capacity. Job seekers can undertake 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. Job seekers can also gain up to six months of work experience in a real workplace.

Remote employment and participation discussion paper

On 14 December 2017, the Minister for Indigenous Affairs announced the release of a discussion paper on possible new employment and participation models for remote Australia.

The remote employment and participation discussion paper outlines three potential remote employment and participation model options: a new wage-based model, the CDP Reform Bill from 2015 and an improved version of current CDP. Some guiding questions have been included in the discussion to help inform responses. Submissions to this discussion paper are part of a broader consultation process, to ensure that any new reforms are developed in partnership with Indigenous Australians and remote communities.


Submissions to the remote employment and participation model closed on Friday 23 February. Submissions have now been published in full, unless a submission was marked as confidential or an author subsequently requested it not be published.

We reserve the right to not publish any submission, or part of a submission, which in our view contains potentially defamatory material, or where we consider it appropriate to do so for confidentiality reasons.

If you have questions about your submission please email

Where the programme operates

The CDP covers 75 percent of Australia’s land mass including over 1,000 communities.  It is supporting around 32,000 people, of which over 80 per cent identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Local service providers deliver the programme 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.

For further information about CDP regions and providers see relevant factsheets.

More information

  • For enquires about the CDP in your region, contact the provider in your region 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 programme 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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