Macquarie University
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Deconstructing Community Development Employment Projects: a "revolution" in indigenous employment policy (1997-2009)

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posted on 2022-03-28, 00:54 authored by David Coombs
Building on the research of William Sanders (2008; 2010), this thesis argues that a fundamental change in the way the Federal Government approached Indigenous affairs occurred over the period 1997-2009. The systematic way in which the government undermined and then abolished the Community Development Employment Projects scheme (CDEP) supports this contention. The incommensurable nature of the causal stories and problem representations of CDEP that appear in the parliamentary debates of 1977 compared with those from 2007 is used as evidence of an ideological transformation in Indigenous affairs public policy. Although Hall’s (1993) concept of the policy paradigm shift evokes the sense of dramatic change that the Howard years entailed, Streeck and Thelen’s (2005) institutional layering explains the process of change in a more theoretically convincing way. This is demonstrated by the gradual yet revolutionary process in which CDEP was subsumed by Work for the Dole. The original contribution of this thesis is found in its application of theories of the policy process and policy change to the Australian Indigenous affairs context.


Table of Contents

I. Introduction -- II. Literature review -- III. Self-determination and the inception of CDEP -- IV. The expansion of CDEP and the introduction of Work for the Dole 1983-2009 -- V. The NTER and the unravelling of CDEP -- Conclusion.


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 85-91

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations

Department, Centre or School

Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Diana Perche


Copyright David Coombs 2014. Copyright disclaimer:






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