The call by Labor’s Indigenous Affairs spokesman, Shayne Neumann, for the Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) to be scrapped is an attack on accountability and transparency of taxpayers’ funds.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, said transparency and accountability of how taxpayers’ money is spent is one of the fundamental reforms of the IAS.
“It is the reason why The Australian this week has been able to report on whole-of-government analysis of the IAS and I will not apologise for ensuring taxpayer’s money goes to areas of greatest need,” he said.
“In my opinion piece in The Australian today, I welcome the analysis because what we have done under the IAS is shine a light on Indigenous spending.
“Under the previous Government there was no such transparency or accountability, Labor couldn’t even tell us how many programmes there were,” Minister Scullion said.
There has been some confusion from The Australian’s analysis and here are the facts:
– $4.1 billion of the total of $4.9 billion has not been committed as claimed.
– $2.9 billion has been committed, a significant proportion of which was inherited from the previous Government.
– That leaves roughly $2 billion yet to be committed. Much of this is notionally earmarked for services under contracts which are expiring over coming years.
Ironically, Mr Neumann has sought to claim that the new culture of transparency and accountability that the IAS has created was his own idea.
A review of the IAS has been listed in the Auditor-General’s forward work programme since July.
“Labor should be pleased to see an increased focus on accountability of how taxpayer’s funds are spent,” Minister Scullion said.
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2015-09-09 Media release – Labor Wants to scrap transparency and accountability.pdf