The Coalition today unveiled its Indigenous Affairs policy, announcing a new way of doing business, and an additional $54m in funds over four years to provide direct support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion said that under Labor, billions of dollars were being spent to improve the lives of Indigenous Australians, with very few appreciable outcomes on the ground.
“Three years on from the emergency response, conditions have gone backwards in many areas for Indigenous Australians. These funds are desperately needed, and we will ensure they actually hit the ground,” Senator Scullion said.
“Under the Coalition, we will establish a Director-General of Indigenous Policy Implementation, who will be independent of the agencies responsible for programme delivery, reporting directly to the Prime Minister about progress. This will provide the power to call for Commonwealth intervention where necessary.
“We will encourage public debate about recognising Indigenous Australians in the Constitution, with the goal of putting the proposal to a referendum at the 2013 election.
“We will also support improvements to dental health, school attendance, tourism and economic development opportunities, and employment to the tune of $54m in new funding. We want to support Indigenous communities to develop their potential.
“Unlike Labor, we don’t believe that the work stops once the announcement is made. We will deliver the houses promised under the Federal Indigenous housing program, and fast-track construction of the Indigenous boarding facilities.
“It is unacceptable to wait until a programme is finished before assessing its performance. All Australians want to see a transparent Government reporting on the outcomes being delivered for Indigenous people.
“While the Coalition will retain existing programs and services, we will ensure they are properly coordinated and delivering real outcomes.”