An alliance of Aboriginal organisations have launched their own remote employment scheme in the Northern Territory which they say is a replacement for the Federal Government’s Community Development Program.

The CDP covers about 35,000 mostly Aboriginal people, and requires 25 hours of “work-like” activities each week to receive unemployment benefits. The scheme has drawn criticism for it’s harsh penalty regime – more than 50,000 financial penalties were handed down to CDP workers in just one three month period.

Aboriginal Peak Organisations NT or APONT is an alliance including the Northern and Central Land Councils and Aboriginal medical and legal services.

Speaking outside Parliament in Canberra, APONT chief executive John Paterson called on the government to scrap the harsh penalty regime of the CDP.

According to the group their proposed Remote Development Employment Scheme would create 10,500 part-time jobs.

Australian Council of Trade Unions Indigenous Officer Lara Watson says they support the proposal.