The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, and the Co-Chairs of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, Dr Jackie Huggins and Mr Rod Little, today hosted Indigenous leaders at a forum to work through issues raised in the Redfern Statement.
The forum with the 18 lead signatories of the Redfern Statement was an opportunity for all participants to engage with each other and the Minister in a spirit of goodwill to discuss ways to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“Today, I have listened closely to the views of a range of Indigenous leaders and acknowledged the significant areas where we share common ground,” Minister Scullion said.
“The forum continues the Turnbull Government’s approach of working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as part of a close engagement with communities to ensure policies and programmes deliver the best outcomes for our First Australians.
“I wish to thank the participants and everyone else who was involved in developing the Redfern Statement. I share the aspirations of the statement and look forward to working with today’s forum participants into the future to implement measures that will improve outcomes for our First Australians.
“We are investing $4.9 billion over four years in the Indigenous Affairs portfolio and I reaffirmed today my commitment to ensure every dollar in my portfolio delivers an outcome for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“We are funding more Indigenous organisations than ever – with 55 per cent of funding under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy now being provided to Indigenous organisations.
“The forum was also a good opportunity to dispel some of the myths and false statements that have been circulated around the Indigenous Affairs portfolio.
“For example, claims that there had been a $500 million cut in the Indigenous Affairs portfolio are simply false and those making these statements know that the savings from Indigenous Affairs programmes were less than half that figure with significant funds reinvested in new initiatives like the successful Remote School Attendance Strategy.
“I committed to work with my colleagues in Commonwealth and state and territory governments to ensure programmes and activities across governments are delivering the outcomes that they should be.
“The Coalition Government is deeply committed to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to bring about the changes necessary to deliver better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”
The Redfern Statement was issued by a number of Indigenous organisations during the 2016 election campaign and included a series of recommendations from these organisations in relation to policies and programmes impacting on First Australians.
Minister Scullion has been working with the Co-Chairs of Congress since he was re-appointed as Minister for Indigenous Affairs to organise today’s forum