The Coalition listened to Indigenous Australia by having amendments made to Federal Labor’s Stronger Futures legislation to have programs reviewed after three years instead of Labor’s seven years, Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs Senator Scullion said.
“When Stronger Futures passed the Senate just after 2am this morning the laws were amended by a Coalition motion to reduce the review period from seven to three years,” Senator Scullion said.
“Waiting seven years to review what has worked is both lazy and insulting to Aboriginal people in those communities.
“Labor has shown a lack of leadership in Indigenous Affairs as Labor never had it in their heart to actually do what was necessary to effect change and to better Aboriginal communities.
“They have allowed many of the Northern Territory Emergency Response measures to just drift aimlessly and due to Labor apathy, there are still major problems with school attendance, alcohol related crime and assault, health‐related issues and no economic opportunities that mean we remain where the coalition left off after losing the 2007 election and we still require measures proposed by Labor in Stronger Futures.
“Labor have finally realised that the emergency response measures designed to enforce the rule of law, get kids to school and create economies in remote communities were real, were targeted and would have worked, if only Labor didn’t have four wasted years of inaction.
“After nearly five years of federal investment in the Northern Territory we should be past the emergency stage and moving to a stage where Aboriginal people themselves are leading the reforms.
“The Coalition supports the Stronger Futures legislation because real reforms are still needed but we will hold the Labor government to account if they continually fail to deliver leadership backed up by a real commitment to end disadvantage and disconnection in NT remote communities.
“Given the fact Labor has done little over the past four years we can’t afford to wait another seven years to ensure progress is being made and programs are working.
“While long term changes in Aboriginal communities cannot be achieved overnight, allowing any government measures to run for seven years before review seems lax and may result in the unacceptable set and forget apathy or a lack of urgency to end Indigenous disadvantage,” Senator Scullion said.
Download media release:
120629 stronger futures release.pdf