Labor’s appointment of Shayne Neumann as the Shadow Minister for Northern Australia shows once again that Labor doesn’t take Indigenous Affairs seriously or give it the importance it deserves.
During the years of the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd Government, Labor had Indigenous Affairs as an add-on portfolio to the Social Services portfolio meaning that it never got the focus or attention that it deserved.
Under the Coalition, a Cabinet Minister has been appointed solely dedicated to Indigenous Affairs to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities have a strong voice from someone who dedicates all of his time to support better outcomes for our First Australians.
Minister Scullion said that significant reform to the delivery of programmes and services had seen Indigenous Affairs elevated to the peak of the bureaucracy within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet which ensured that every decision of Government was closely scrutinised for its impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.
“Mr Neumann is now Shadow Minister for Ageing, Shadow Minister for Northern Australia and Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs,” Minister Scullion said.
“How can he focus his attention on First Australians in this grab bag of portfolios?
“During this term of Government, I have visited more than 150 communities on more than 200 occasions to sit down with traditional owners, leaders, men’s and women’s groups and organisations, and hear their priorities for their communities and work with them to ensure the Commonwealth investment meets their needs.
“It is no surprise that Labor’s Indigenous Affairs Budget release misinterpreted (one must hope not deliberately), the savings that the Government was required to make to help fix the budget mess Labor left. Perhaps Labor’s Shadow Minister is more focused on picking up new portfolios and getting across a new brief.
“However, I do welcome the announcement of the appointment of Senator Patrick Dodson as a Shadow Parliamentary Secretary, and congratulate him on being the first appointment of an Indigenous Australian to the Labor leadership group and look forward to his contribution in his new role.”
The Coalition is working in close partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to deliver better outcomes.
The Government’s 2016-17 budget builds on our earlier investments and provides $4.9 billion through the Indigenous Advancement Strategy to deliver better outcomes for our First Australians.