The Federal government’s budget represents a “missed opportunity” for First Nations workers, the union representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers says.

The government has put aside $98 million for its work for the dole program: the much-criticised Community Development Program.

The program has been described as “racially discrimating, punitive, ineffective and expensive” and last year it was announced the program would be phased out over a five-year period.

Indigenous officer at the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Lara Watson, said the union was alarmed by the amount appropriated for CDP and said it’s time for the program to end.

“People have been on this program for years now and the government has received multiple submissions on how harmful the program is, who it doesn’t fit in with the communities and doesn’t lead to employment, yet the keep extending it.”

A lot of people who are still on CDP are not even aware that it is now a voluntary process and that’s alarming as well.

We’ve still got CDP workers that are doing work for the equivalent of a Centrelink payment that could actually be a full-time or part-time job in a community.”