The Turnbull Government’s 2016-17 Budget improves outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through investments in economic development, education and community safety.
The Government will provide a $65 million loan to the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC) which marks a new chapter in the relationship with the ILC and shows what can be achieved when the Government and the corporation work together.
The Government’s loan will unencumber the ILC from the crippling impact of an existing debt that is diverting resources from its core business of supporting the economic aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.
The loan will significantly reduce interest payments for the ILC on the debt incurred from the purchase of the Ayers Rock Resort. The Resort has become an incubator of Indigenous employment and the Turnbull Government is working closely with it to place it on a more sustainable footing.
The Government is also ensuring continuity of support for Indigenous businesses through the reallocation of $23.1 million from Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) to the Indigenous Advancement Strategy as a 12-month measure. These funds will be contracted back to IBA with specific outcomes to ensure there is a renewed focus on Indigenous entrepreneurs and small businesses.
This is currently restricted by IBA’s enabling legislation. These support services will also better align with the exciting growth opportunities being created by the Australian Government, including through the Indigenous Procurement Policy.
We are also extending opportunities for Indigenous Australians in the education sector.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are enrolling in universities in greater numbers than ever before, with enrolment rates growing faster than those for other Australian students.
To capitalise on this and accelerate the pace of change, the Government has worked with universities to develop new arrangements to ensure students are not only enrolling, but also progressing through their courses and completing university degrees in greater numbers.
The introduction of the Indigenous Student Success in Higher Education measure will lead to more First Australians completing their university studies and taking up professional careers.
The Government will consolidate $253.1 million in supplementary funding over four years within a capped special appropriation under the Higher Education Support Act 2003.
Commencing in the 2017 academic year, universities will be able to design their services to deliver tailored scholarships, tutorial assistance and other measures to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students are on the pathway to success. A special loading will recognise the specific needs of the many students coming from remote and regional Australia.
Through the 2016-17 Budget, the Coalition will continue to target investment in the Indigenous Affairs portfolio to areas that will improve outcomes for First Australians.