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Video Clip Synopsis:
An Indigenous community works hard to make a profitable, self-sustaining market garden. The aim is to create jobs for as many of their community as possible.

1min 31sec

Indigenous Community Market Garden is an excerpt from the film Working Together (12 mins), produced in 1973.



Working Together: The Community Employment Program provides funds to assist groups develop community projects that will provide work for the long-term unemployed. This film shows four CEP projects that were developed and implemented by Aboriginal communities: a home care service in Casino, NSW; a landscaping project in Baryulgil, NSW; a market garden in Eden on the NSW south coast; and the Aboriginal Women’s Unit, which employs information officers across Australia to assist women set up projects to meet their specific needs.

Working Together was produced by Film Australia for the National Aboriginal Employment Development Committee.

Study Module

Curriculum Focus: English
Year: 11-12
Theme: Indigenous Work

Key Concepts

Employment; Government employment programs; Welfare; Self-determination

Curriculum Applicability Notes

ACT:English course framework (11-12) — responding critically and analytically to texts
NSW:English Stage 6: Close study of text, Texts and society
NT:English Stage 1 Texts and contexts
Qld:English senior syllabus: Texts in their contexts; textual features; Constructedness of texts
SA:English Stage 1 Texts and contexts
Tas:Senior Secondary English: Ideas and issues strand; Texts and contexts strand; Applications strand
Vic:English Language: Unit 3 — Language in society; Unit 4 — Language in use
WA:English Year 11 — Print texts (non fiction), Non-print texts
English Year 12 — Print texts (non-fiction), Non-print texts

Context / Background Information

European invasion and settlement of Australia severely disrupted the economy and culture of Indigenous people. Many of these people became dislocated. Recently there have been efforts made to find ways of engaging Indigenous people in economic activities that are sympathetic to their culture.

Recent Australian governments have been committed to developing business and employment opportunities for Indigenous people to increase their economic independence.

The philosophy behind this is the belief that economic independence is essential to increasing the confidence, wealth, social direction and community empowerment of Indigenous people.

Operating since 1977, the Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) scheme is now the Australian Government's largest Indigenous program with funding of approximately $490 million per year. The scheme provides for more than 36,000 participant places through around 280 community organisations across Australia.

Participants in the scheme subsidise two thirds of the scheme's costs by voluntarily working for their Income Support Benefits. CDEP provides work and community development, assists with employment creation and the establishment of successful businesses and assists Indigenous Australians to gain training and skills which are necessary for employment in the mainstream labour market.

CDEP provides fulfilling opportunities to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in those areas of Australia where jobs are scarce.

Discussion Pointers

  1. What does the video clip show?
  2. What is the message of the video clip?
  3. What is the attitude of the Aboriginal leader towards reliance on welfare?

Suggested Classroom Activities

  1. Aboriginal leader Noel Pearson has argued recently that one of the greatest problems facing Aboriginal communities is welfare reliance. Do you think that Noel Pearson would think that this scheme would be a solution, or part of the problem? Explain your views.
  2. Some commentators have argued that a great challenge facing Indigenous people is the need for them to be part of the general economy. Would this scheme help or hinder that process?
  3. Imagine that an Aboriginal community in a remote part of Australia was facing a crisis. The community does not have an economic base to sustain the population. The community must decide if it can develop an economic base, either on the spot or through moving to other areas, or whether it will maintain its links with the land but have to accept welfare payments and the dangers that go with that situation. Create a series of possible options and develop clear statements about the advantages and disadvantages of each. Note: If you are not an Indigenous person you are NOT being asked to imagine that you are. The key element is to create options and to critically assess each. This WILL, however, involve developing an awareness of a variety of values and attitudes towards different possibilities.

Modules That Use This Clip

SOSE/HSIE Year 11-12, English Year 11-12