The dividends of a strong economy are being reinvested by the Coalition Government into new services and opportunities to improve the lives of Indigenous Australians.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, said the 2019-20 Budget invests in new services that will help break the cycle of disadvantage for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians by providing safe and stable communities, delivering better education for young Indigenous Australians and creating sustainable pathways for job seekers.
The Budget builds on the existing $5.2 billion Indigenous Advancement Strategy which is ensuring children get an education, assisting adults into work, growing the Indigenous business sector and delivering safer and healthier communities.
Our Government is committed to working with state and territory governments to deliver better housing for remote Indigenous communities. Building on our significant investment in housing for remote communities in the Northern Territory and Western Australia, this Budget includes the finalisation of an agreement with the South Australian Government for a $37.5 million payment to support better housing for residents of remote Indigenous communities.
We are also making communities safer by tackling the drivers of family and domestic violence, with $35 million allocated to support Indigenous women and girls impacted by family violence and prevention strategies with young people and adults.
Through the 2019-20 Budget, the Coalition Government will also invest $5 million over four years into youth led Indigenous suicide prevention initiatives across Australia. These initiatives will be regionally focused and tailored to meet the needs of each community and reflect the Coalition Government’s commitment to empowering young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians to design and lead efforts to tackle high rates of youth suicide in their communities.
The Coalition Government is also investing $7.3 million in the Budget to further support local and regional decision making processes, increasing the involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in the development of policies and the delivery of services that benefit Indigenous communities.
This investment is consistent with the recommendation of the Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition Relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to co-design with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians options for a Voice to Parliament for Indigenous Australians.
Under the Coalition’s Indigenous Advancement Strategy, we have doubled the rate that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations deliver services. This Budget will expand successful local and regional decision making processes, like the Empowered Communities model.
The Coalition Government will also build on its highly successful Indigenous Procurement Policy (IPP) which introduced a three per cent target for the number of Commonwealth contracts that go to Indigenous businesses. Commencing on 1 July 2019, the Commonwealth will introduce a new three per cent value target for all Commonwealth contracts to be awarded to Indigenous business within the next decade.
The IPP has already been a spectacular success, lifting Commonwealth purchasing from Indigenous businesses from 30 Indigenous businesses winning $6.2 million of Commonwealth contracts in 2012-13 to over 1,400 Indigenous businesses winning $1.83 billion in Commonwealth contracts since the introduction of the IPP. The new targets will exponentially grow the opportunities for Indigenous owned and operated small businesses.
The Budget reaffirms the Coalition Government’s commitment to supporting Indigenous students to attend school and get the education that creates the foundation for a better life. The Budget includes the $200 million Indigenous Youth Education Package announced during Closing the Gap week to fund additional scholarship placements and give more Indigenous students the support and mentoring they need. This funding will drive school attendance and improve education outcomes which we know are so critical to a better future.
The Budget demonstrates that the Coalition Government is working closely with Indigenous communities to invest in local priorities and what works on the ground. The Coalition Government believes in working together with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to make local decisions and give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities the support needed to deliver better life outcomes for our First Australians.
Improving the lives of Indigenous Australians is part of our plan for a stronger economy and securing a better future.