The Coalition Government is making the right choices, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people big winners from the federal budget.
The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Senator Nigel Scullion, said the cross-portfolio budget investment delivered fairness, opportunity and security – for all Australians, especially First Australians.
“The three key principles that underpinned this week’s budget were fairness, opportunity and security. The Indigenous-specific initiatives supported in this budget can be seen through this prism,” Minister Scullion said.
“Governments should do all they can to ensure our First Australians have every opportunity the wider community enjoys to get a good education and work in a good job, and feel secure in their homes, workplaces, streets and shops.
“Our policies are going a long way to delivering on this for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.”
The Coalition Government’s cross-portfolio investment in initiatives to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people includes:
- $55.7m to help Close the Gap in Indigenous employment by strengthening the engagement between employment services providers and Indigenous communities and providing enhanced support for Indigenous participants;
- $146.9 million in business support for Indigenous entrepreneurs including tailored loans and capital assistance;
- $11 million to develop and implement a Community Development Programme youth engagement strategy in collaboration with remote schools;
- $113 million to expand the ParentsNext initiative to 30 locations to provide intensive support to help increase the participation of Indigenous parents in the labour market;
- $15 million for new Indigenous Protected Areas in addition to those already declared or under consultation as part of the Indigenous Protected Areas Network;
- $5.9 million to help close the gap in literacy achievement, trialling the use of play-based digital applications to improve English literacy outcomes for Indigenous children in 20 preschools across the country;
- $33 million through the Boosting the Local Care Workforce initiative to support more regional workers, including First Australians, to meet the demand of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and an ageing population;
- $39 million for Community Legal Centres to support victims of domestic violence;
- $16.7 million for Indigenous Legal Assistance Providers to assist in addressing Indigenous incarceration rates;
- $0.4 million for the supply of medicine through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme to clients of Remote Area Aboriginal Health Services;
- $18.8 million to continue the Rheumatic Fever Strategy including expansion to at-risk communities;
- $52.9 million to enhance research and evaluation in Indigenous Affairs, including the establishment of an Indigenous Research Fund.
Minister Scullion said cross-portfolio efforts would build on the success of initiatives such as the Government’s Indigenous Procurement Policy, which, in its first 18 months, had seen 708 Indigenous businesses win Commonwealth contracts worth $407 million.
“To drive greater change and to close the gap, we need to harness greater opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across all areas of government expenditure and investment,” Minister Scullion said.
“For example, infrastructure spending not only delivers roads and rail that improves the services for regional communities, it ensures there are jobs and opportunities for businesses in those communities, many of which are Indigenous owned and run.
“I will be pushing hard to ensure infrastructure investment, such as Sydney’s second airport, delivers jobs and business opportunities for First Australians.
“Improving opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will lead to much better outcomes and help to close the gap. This budget ensures even greater opportunities for First Australians right across the board.”