Work for the Dole is a Rort: A Story from a JSA Worker

My husband and myself worked for a JSA. Running what was called CDEP program, teaching farming on an indigenous farm. We became a team with our workers, we treated them with much respect and they treated us the same. I thought our job was to teach then, they could run the farm themselves, with real employment. Our successes were huge, and everyone was enthusiastic and happy. The community had hope, and loved there farm. Then we started noticing strange behaviour with our employers.

One indigenous man was over sixty, with one arm and had been working for WFTD scheme for 16 yrs. Then I discovered others – working for 16yrs for 20 dollar top up on there dole. We also noticed it wasn’t about finding them work. It was about them getting millions in funding to run bullshit schemes. Tickets on tickets, backhoe tickets times 3, told its a different backhoe. These participants had so many tickets with no opportunity to use them.

RJCP was about to roll out and government changed from labor to LNP. Funding was pulled and farm was as good as killed off. We closed the door on a registered kitchen we had built that was catering for RIO and making jams, pickles and sauces from extra produce to reduce waste. A veg stall that operated everyday, providing cheap fresh fruit and veg for the community. Even the township of Wiepa was enthusiastic and bought fresh produce from us.

Then there’s the new nursery we had built from funding to supply all the new trees and plants for the new boarding campus in Weipa. This we all did successfully. participants was meant to achieve cert 11 in horticulture. This didn’t happen although it was part of the funding. We were left with the only commercial nursery in the area. This was also huge, as a new area for housing had been approved in Weipa and the builders and contractors set up accounts with us to buy there plants and trees for landscaping these new houses. Even Rio approached us to start rehabilitation on mine sites. This was also huge.

This is what was closed, all this opportunity thrown away …WHY… because they want to keep the community enslaved and its not about jobs for them… I conversed with all govt, trying to not have this all go down the way it was. Everyone lied. Labour listened but everyone blamed it on retraction of funding. Work for the dole is a RORT. I even wrote submissions to govt on the RJCP rollout submissions page… This farm does not exist today and my husband and I are pissed off to the max. You can read all about it on google… Napranum Farm. Deeply saddened and now have no trust in the establishment.