NACCHO and National Congress sharing a major press conference at Parliament House
National Congress notes the significant spending on Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander programs and looks forward to working with the government of the day on furthering our Peoples issues.
“We welcome additional funds in this Budget that are being provided under certain programs, given the tough measures applied across government expenditure,” said Congress Co-Chair, Les Malezer.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should take confidence from the commitment to continue existing levels of support through Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander programs and services.
“However, all Governments must continue to look for ways reduce duplication of services and complexity of grant administration as these will continue to be obstacles for addressing disadvantage for our Peoples,” he said.
Congress will continue to analyse the budget but key points include:
Health: $777 million commitment to the National Partnership Agreement in health.
NACCHO , Congress, our members and our Close the Gap partners will continue to work with the Federal, State and Territory governments to secure a national agreement and to implement the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan.
NACCHO notes that as at May 15 we are still awaiting the fine details
Education: 9.8 billion Gonski funding.
Congress welcomes the extra money from this funding for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. The extra funding for the Indigenous Youth Leadership Program (11.9 million over 4 years) will help improve retention rates and we also note the funds for the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation (10 million).
$12 million extra over 2 years for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services. The budget however has not delivered a clear commitment to Justice Reinvestment programs.
“Congress has called for Justice Targets as part of Closing the Gap and the increased funding for ALS will contribute towards those goals but we will continue to call for Justice Reinvestment and stronger commitments from States and Territories,” said Co-Chair Jody Broun.
“The government has also made a clear commitment to working with Congress and ensuring our role as a strong independent representative body is maintained by continuing funding till 2017 of $15million.”