Government clueless on Indigenous Affairs
The Labour government is clueless on its spending on Indigenous programs and appears to have no idea on how to help Aboriginals, Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs Senator Scullion.
“For the third straight Estimates, the government has been unable to provide a list of Indigenous programs across various departments and the funding associated with each program,” Senator Scullion said.
“Back in the October estimates last year the Community Affairs Legislation Committee was, after much wrangling, given an incomplete list but were promised a full list would be ready for the February estimates.
“In meetings held the week before February estimates we were told the list was almost done and only a few days away but then told at estimates such a list couldn’t be done, due to reasons such as different departments have different reporting standards or a lot of government expenditure on Indigenous Affairs comes through mainstream programs that are not specifically targeted at our First Australians.
“At estimates last week, I was given much the same excuses but am none the wiser as to why a few years ago I was provided with a list of programs and funding for the Northern Territory alone but can’t get it for all Indigenous spending by the Commonwealth of Australia.
“It seems no one knows how much money is being spent on Indigenous Australians or on what for.
“Indigenous Affairs funding is a complete mystery to everyone, but most of all to Minister Jenny Macklin and the Federal Labor Government.
“I have to go through and try and find all the hidden programs and associated funding that this government has squirreled away.
“Minister Macklin doesn’t seem to care and appears at best disinterested in Indigenous affairs with no real plans on helping Aboriginals overcome poverty and disadvantage.
“How can we trust Jenny Macklin and Julia Gillard to help Indigenous Australians towards a better future if they can’t even find out how much money is being spent on Indigenous programs?
“Jenny Macklin is disengaged from her Indigenous Affairs portfolio and sadly seems as disengaged as the many Indigenous Australians we are trying to help towards a better future,” Senator Scullion said.