Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, said Greens Senator, Rachel Siewert, is not telling the whole story in criticising the number of Indigenous organisations to be funded through the Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) grant round.
“Approximately 45 per cent of the almost thousand organisations to receive grant funding are Aboriginal organisations, as Senator Siewert rightly points out,” the Minister said.
“But what she fails to acknowledge is that under previous arrangements, fewer Aboriginal organisations were funded – in fact, only about 30 per cent of grant funded organisations were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations as at December 2014.
“So the grant funding round has actually increased the proportion of Indigenous organisations to be funded. And at least 40 of these are new Indigenous organisations funded under the round to deliver services to First Australians.
“This increase in the number of Indigenous organisations reflects my desire and commitment to ensure as much as possible, services are delivered by Indigenous organisations which we know are more likely to employ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. They are also much closer to and in-tune with the communities they serve.
“However, we also need to acknowledge that non-Indigenous organisations like universities, schools, pre-schools and large mainstream employers have always been an important part of the Indigenous service delivery sector.
“Is Senator Siewert suggesting we should stop funding these types of organisations? This would result in large scale service delivery gaps across remote Australia that would significantly disadvantage Indigenous Australians and would result in Indigenous job losses.
“All funding under the IAS is geared towards directly supporting Indigenous people, particularly those living in remote areas.
“Many non-Indigenous providers employ Aboriginal and Islander people and I have instructed my department to ensure we work with those organisations to further drive the creation of jobs for First Australians.
“In addition, many of the services provided through non-Indigenous organisations directly support Indigenous people, such as parenting and youth services which may be run by non-Indigenous organisations but which cater for Indigenous children.
“I welcomed the Senate inquiry into the IAS and look forward to the whole picture being presented to the Committee.”
Download media release:
2015-05-05 Greens IAS funding.pdf