Mutual obligation requirements in the Community Development Program

Information for job seekers about mutual obligation requirements in the Community Development Program.

Who this applies to

This applies to job seekers in the Community Development Program.

Read more about the Community Development Program on the National Indigenous Australians Agency website.

Who this doesn’t apply to

There are different rules for job seekers in jobactive and Disability Employment Services or ParentsNext compulsory participants.

If you’re one of these, read more about demerits and penalties for not meeting mutual obligation requirements.

If you live in an area with lockdown restrictions

Due to coronavirus (COVID-19), we’ve temporarily paused mutual obligation requirements for job seekers and participants who live in some areas.

If you’re a job seeker in the Community Development Program (CDP), mutual obligation requirements are paused until 21 September 2021, if you live in either of these CDP regions:

  • Far West Region NSW
  • Upper Darling Region NSW.

Your CDP provider for these regions is Regional Enterprise Development Institute Ltd.

During this period, no payment suspensions or financial penalties will apply if you don’t meet your mutual obligation requirements.

Please continue to check here for any updates on when this temporary pause is due to end. If you’re unable to meet your job search requirements after the temporary pause ends, you need to call your CDP provider.

If you live in other parts of Australia

You must meet all of your mutual obligation requirements.

When penalties apply

To keep getting paid, you must meet your mutual obligation requirements. These are in your Job Plan and may include the following:

  • going to appointments with your Community Development Program provider
  • agreeing to or changing your Job Plan when asked
  • showing you’re actively looking for work if that’s part of your Job Plan
  • going to job interviews
  • accepting suitable job offers
  • having a valid reason for leaving a job.

If you don’t do these things, we may suspend your payment, or you could lose some or all of your payment.

We’ll always speak with you before giving you a penalty.

Remember your appointment time and make sure you do the things you’ve agreed to do in your Job Plan. If you can’t go to an appointment or do the things in your Job Plan, talk to your provider. You should talk to them before your appointment is due to start.

Changes to mutual obligation requirements

From 12 May 2021, mutual obligation requirements for job seekers in the Community Development Program (CDP) have changed. From this date, CDP activities are voluntary. This includes:

  • Work for the Dole
  • training
  • work experience.

You won’t get a penalty for not attending these activities after 12 May 2021.

If you choose not to do Work for the Dole, your Work for the Dole supplement may stop.

You must still do the other things listed in your Job Plan.

What a comprehensive compliance assessment is

A comprehensive compliance assessment is how we find out why you’re not meeting your requirements.

Either we or your provider will refer you for this assessment if you continue to miss appointments. We may also refer you for an assessment if we’re concerned about your ability to meet your requirements.

Read more about comprehensive compliance assessments.

Serious failures

If after a comprehensive compliance assessment we find you’ve been persistently non-compliant, you may get a serious failure.

You may also get a serious failure if you don’t either:

  • accept a suitable job offer
  • start work you’ve accepted.

A serious failure means we won’t pay you for 8 weeks.

During this time, your payment may start again if you agree to do a compliance activity.

Unemployment non-payment period

We may not pay you if you choose to leave your job or you lose it because of misconduct. We may not pay you for either:

  • 8 weeks
  • 12 weeks if you got relocation assistance for the job from your provider.

This won’t affect your family payments.

We may waive the non-payment period if you meet certain conditions and are in severe financial hardship.

When to ask for a review of a decision

If you get a failure and disagree with the decision, you can ask us to review our decision.

Read more about reviews and appeals.

Page last updated: 16 September 2021