The Australian taxpayer will have to fork out $44m in the Budget for Minister Jenny Macklin’s poor negotiating skills on municipal services in remote indigenous communities, Shadow Indigenous Affairs Minister Senator Nigel Scullion said today.
“It has been revealed that the Commonwealth will pay a further $44.1m to continue to fund municipal services in remote Aboriginal communities despite Minister Macklin’s push over the past two years for the States and Territories to take responsibility for services,” Senator Scullion said.
“The Commonwealth does not pay for municipal services, rubbish collection and so on in the suburbs of Australia, so why it is different for indigenous Australians?
“Macklin has clearly failed to turn this around and her poor negotiating skills have seen the program extended for the second year in a row and cost Australian taxpayers yet another $44m.
“Why is it, in this day and age, that we continue to have different arrangements for our indigenous citizens than we do for other Australians? Why is it, that when it comes to the basics of municipal services and rubbish collection and so on, that local and state governments refuse to pick up the bill as they would for anyone else?
“This is yet another example of the Gillard government being prepared to sit back and accept lower standards and have lower expectations for indigenous Australians. They lack the energy and drive required to put things right for indigenous Australians.
“It is all too hard so they just pay the money and forget about it until the next budget. Nothing changes under Labor.
“They continue to put resolution of the municipal services funding on the never-never and under Macklin’s management would get extended again into the future. The taxpayer and indigenous Australians will be the losers,” Senator Scullion said.
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municipal services release.pdf