Discussion paper

Decentralisation, population mobility and the CDEP scheme in central Cape York Peninsula

19 Feb 2003

This paper presents a case study of the Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) scheme in the Coen region of Cape York Peninsula from January 1996 to May 1997, prior to implementation of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) and Spicer Reports on CDEP. It is suggested that, despite its successes, the administration of the CDEP scheme in the Coen region in 1996 and 1997 often tended towards 'welfare colonialism'. It met with resistance from younger participants and suspicion from more senior Aboriginal people in its limited successes in producing meaningful employment opportunities, in supporting local Aboriginal aspirations and in creating a more motivated and skilled younger population which might better meet the challenges facing the region's Aboriginal people.

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