Labor Senator Pat Dodson says the government’s work-for-the-dole scheme – which covers mainly remote Indigenous communities – is a “national shame.”

The Community Development Program (CDP) covers about 33,000 mainly Indigenous jobless people and requires them to work 25 hours per work to receive welfare payments.

The program has attracted criticism because the working hours are up to three times longer than city-based job seekers and recipients have received nearly 55,000 fines in just three months.

Senator Dodson says “people are going hungry” and poverty and crime are on the rise due to the program.