The response by Labor’s Indigenous Affairs spokesman, Shayne Neumann, to the Government’s consultations on the Indigenous Advancement Strategy shows how out of touch Labor is.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, said the Indigenous Advancement Strategy was based on consultations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities over many years.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities have been telling me and my Department for years that we need to end the confusing and ineffective approach to funding in Indigenous affairs,” Minister Scullion said.
“We are committed to getting this right, and untangling the mess of funding that Indigenous communities have had to navigate for far too long.
“The introduction of the Indigenous Advancement Strategy was the first step, and now we are going back out to communities to ensure that the Indigenous Advancement Strategy continues to meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and, importantly, deliver results on the ground for our First Australians.”
Minister Scullion said the comments from Mr Neumann were disappointing, but not surprising.
“Under Labor’s approach to Indigenous Affairs, it was nearly impossible to see where funding was going or if it was effective. Labor was never able to report on the number of Indigenous programmes or details of individual grants across the various portfolios providing Indigenous specific funding,” Minister Scullion said.
“I am proud of the reforms that we have delivered in Indigenous Affairs, getting kids to school, adults into work and making communities safer. These are the hardest areas to tackle, and we are not shying away from our commitment to improve the lives of our First Australians. The results we are seeing, out on the ground, speak for themselves.”
Key facts on this Government’s reforms to Indigenous Affairs:
o In the Northern Territory attendance rates at a number of Government schools have increased, for example, the attendance rate at both Ngukurr and Alekarenge schools rose by 15 percentage points from Term 2, 2013 to Term 2, 2015.
o For Queensland Government RSAS schools, the number of children attending school increased by 12 per cent in the same period.
$27 million worth of contracts went to Indigenous businesses. This is more than four times the Government’s spend to Indigenous businesses in 2012-13 of $6.2 million.
Download media release:
2015-10-29 Labor out of touch.pdf