The Federal government will pay out more than $2 million to settle a class action over a ‘racist’ work for the dole program.

The Community Development Program (CDP) covers about 30,000 jobseekers in remote communities and requires them to work up to 25 hours a week to receive the dole. The program’s participants are mostly Aboriginal people and face tougher welfare penalties than other parts of Australia.

Western Australia’s Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku and the Ngaanyatjarra Council launched the class action in 2019 on behalf of 680 CDP participants.

They claimed the program was racist and even “modern-day slavery” and breached sections nine, ten and 13 of the Racial Discrimination Act.

The federal court this month officially approved the settlement which the council says will be used for an infrastructure program and an arts project in the shire.

The government has agreed to redesign the CDP program in the communities covered by the class action, and separately the government plans to overhaul the entire program across the country.