NACCHO political alert: How will the new Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion be different ?

Nigel

“We’re bringing the functions of a whole range of Indigenous specific functions across to Prime Minister and Cabinet. Health will stay with Health, education will stay with Education, but there are a whole range of functions we’re taking out of the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, and the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations and out of other departments, functions that are either remote or Indigenous specific”

Nigel Scullion will today be sworn in as Indigenous Affairs Minister, in a series of interviews yesterday with ABC radio and the Alice Springs news he spelt out his plans for Indigenous Affairs within the department of Prime Minister and Cabinet

Interview transcript ABC radio

Nigel Scullion has been appointed Indigenous Affairs Minister, giving the NT its first Federal Cabinet Minister since the Country Liberals were formed.

Tony Abbott has announced that Senator Scullion is keeping the portfolio that he was spokesman on in the last parliamentary term, and it will sit within the department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Senator Scullion said his Government was giving Australia’s indigenous communities a new commitment to listen to their solutions to challenging problems.

“To work with communities, not make decisions and impose them on communities,” Senator Scullion said.

“Communities best know how to get their kids to school.

“Communities know the very best way to move some of their participants from welfare into work.

“Communities know how to make their own communities safe.”

The Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister-elect said he’d asked the Government’s Indigenous advisory committee to look at how to tackle reliance on welfare.

Senator Scullion said the Government planned to toughen the requirement for people to take available jobs in urban areas.

He said, in remote communities, the Government would consider if it was appropriate to expect people to stay on Newstart welfare payments if there were no jobs for them to do.

“Given that Newstart has an implication that this is a transitionary time from where they are to a job, well, if there are no jobs – and in the many communities there are no jobs, it’s simply a welfare community – I think that’s an unacceptable situation that we should pretend there are jobs there.”

Secondly he spoke this morning with Alice Springs News Online editor ERWIN CHLANDA.

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Outback answers to bush welfare mess

NEWS: Is there a case for expanding the principle of stopping the dole for people rejecting offers of work, for expecting that people who have assets use them for projects that create work? Aborigines in The Centre own half a million square kilometres.

SCULLION: Receiving Newstart payments in an area that has no economy and no jobs is inappropriate. In these conditions governments have been taking the view that the dole is unconditional.

We know that is not acceptable in the long term. Newstart is for people between jobs, searching for jobs. We need to look at that more broadly.

The development of an economy such as tourism, broad-acre or pastoral industries, manufacturing – these are very important elements of the future and the government plays an important role.

NEWS: Is there a case for Aboriginal land trusts and land councils to look for joint ventures with job creation as a main focus?

SCULLION: I’ve had long conversations with land owners about a range of issues, from tenure to development. As areas are developed and jobs become available, and we move to an economy, then clearly we would have a reasonable expectation to involve people currently disconnected.

If they are able to work then they should be working. I’ve not heard anyone saying no, we don’t need economic development and we want to continue to receive welfare. Nobody’s told me that. We’ll be working closely with the land councils.

In the area you’re speaking off, places like Ali Curung, it has been disappointing that a melon farm is six kilometers up the road from able bodied men and women and they find it very difficult to get employment. That’s an issue. It’s a complex one.

Who’s currently making the decisions? This is an area where they are adjacent to an economy, and adjacent to jobs. If there is a job there, and you’re simply saying, I’m just not going to take that job, well, there’s no unconditional welfare.

The leverage of moving people away from the horrors of welfare into employment – it’s good enough for people in the mainstream. These opportunities should also be available to Aboriginal people.

NEWS: Is there a reluctance by the land trusts and land councils to enter into joint ventures that could create jobs?

SCULLION: The use of broad-acre land such as in other states is one of the low hanging fruits of economic development. Look over the fence! Whatever they’ve been doing there for the last 30, 40 years is probably a good indicator of how to use the land. As to the land councils, I’m always interested in hearing submissions. They should be assisting the land owners where they can.

Separate services: Congress gets big tick

NEWS: What’s the future of the big Aboriginal organisations in Alice Springs? Tangentyere and Congress, for example?

SCULLION: We don’t need duplication of services. We need very good services. If you talk about the application of municipal services in some of the town camps by Tangentyere, I have had a number of people telling me that they don’t believe the service they are getting is particularly good.

If you live in some areas of Alice Springs you shouldn’t be delivered a different service, you should be getting exactly the same service. And equally you should be expected to pay for it. For example, normalcy for the town council would be, who’s going to pay rates?

NEWS: What about Congress?

SCULLION: Congress in Alice Springs is probably one of the best health organisations in Australia, full stop. They have moved to a very good business model that has been picked up in other parts of Australia.

They’re fundamentally welded to Medicare, they ensure all of their clients have a Medicare card. It’s the same sort of [positive] index you get across Australia, particularly in demographics with larger areas of need.

NEWS: What’s on top of your agenda as the new Minister?

SCULLION: Talking with my partners in the other jurisdictions, discussions about structural changes in the departments, moving many of the instruments of government into Prime Minister and Cabinet, the formation of a new role.

NEWS: Which functions of Indigenous Affairs will be moved?

SCULLION: We’re bringing the functions of a whole range of Indigenous specific functions across to Prime Minister and Cabinet. Health will stay with Health, education will stay with Education, but there are a whole range of functions we’re taking out of the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, and the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations and out of other departments, functions that are either remote or Indigenous specific

NACCHO political alert: Abbott abolishes Indigenous health ministry

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Photo above: The Australian

It was not only women who missed out when Tony Abbott’s new ministry was announced in Canberra yesterday.

The position of Minister for Indigenous previously held by Warren Snowdon and expected to be allocated to Andrew Laming  the Shadow Minister for Indigenous Health and the Regional Health Shadow has been abolished.

As yet there has not been  a formal announcement about the future on Indigenous health

Speaking from the sunshine coast Mr Laming said he had been honoured to work in the areas of Regional and Aboriginal health during the last term of Parliament and looked forward to other opportunities in the future.

The Hon Peter Dutton MP will be Minister for Health and Minister for Sport. Senator Fiona Nash will be Assistant Minister for Health. Responsibility for mental health will rest with Peter Dutton ensuring responsibility for this issue remains in Cabinet.

As promised, the administration of indigenous affairs will move into the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Senator the Hon Nigel Scullion will be Minister for Indigenous Affairs. (See press release in comments below)

INCOMING GOVERNMENT PRESS RELEASE

The incoming Coalition Government will restore strong, stable and accountable government to build a more prosperous Australia.

This is the team that will scrap the carbon tax, end the waste, stop the boats, build the roads of the twenty-first century and deliver the strong and dynamic economy that we need.

First term governments are best served by Cabinets with extensive ministerial experience. Fifteen members of the incoming Cabinet have previous ministerial experience. The four members of Cabinet without ministerial experience have made significant contributions to the Shadow Ministry.

The simplification of ministerial and departmental titles reflects my determination to run a “back to basics” government.

The Australian people expect a government that is upfront, speaks plainly and does the essentials well.

The Cabinet will be assisted by a strong team of ministers with proven capacity to implement the Government’s policies.

Parliamentary secretaries will assist senior ministers and be under their direction.

Good government requires a strong Coalition. As Deputy Prime Minister and as Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, the Hon Warren Truss MP will be responsible for ensuring the Government delivers on its major infrastructure commitments across Australia. Mr Jamie Briggs MP will be the Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development with specific responsibility for roads and delivery of our election commitments across metropolitan and regional Australia.

The Hon Julie Bishop MP will serve as Minister for Foreign Affairs and will be a strong voice for Australia during a time when Australia is a member of the United Nations Security Council. Australia in addition will assume the Chair of the G20 on 1 December for a year. Senator the Hon Brett Mason will be Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

With the unemployment rate at its highest level in four years and with Treasury forecasting that the number of unemployed will rise to around 800,000 by the middle of next year, helping Australian businesses generate more jobs underpins our agenda to build a stronger economy.

Senator the Hon Eric Abetz as Minister for Employment, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on the Public Service and Leader of the Government in the Senate will be responsible for reducing impediments to employment growth. In keeping with our pre-election commitments, the Coalition Government will restore the Australian Building and Construction Commission, return the industrial relations pendulum to the sensible centre and re-invigorate Work for the Dole. Mr Luke Hartsuyker MP will be Assistant Minister for Employment and Deputy Leader of the House.

Senator the Hon George Brandis QC will be Attorney-General, Minister for the Arts and Vice President of the Executive Council and will be responsible for establishing a bipartisan process that will lead to a referendum and recognition of indigenous Australians in the Constitution. Mr Michael Keenan MP will be Minister for Justice.

Strengthening the economy, lifting productivity and turning around Australia’s competitive decline will be at the heart of the new Government. By strengthening the economy we can create more jobs and better afford the services that we all want.

As Treasurer, the Hon Joe Hockey MP will lead the Government’s work to restore the Budget position and grow a stronger economy. Senator Mathias Cormann, as Minister for Finance, will be responsible for delivering better value for taxpayers. Senator Arthur Sinodinos AO will be Assistant Treasurer. His lifetime of experience in the public sector will provide further strength to our economic team. Mr Steven Ciobo MP will be Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer and Mr Michael McCormack MP will be Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance.

Mr Barnaby Joyce MP will be the Minister for Agriculture and will be working to fulfil Australia’s potential as the food-bowl of Asia. The agricultural opportunities for Northern Australia in particular are immense. Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck will be Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture.

Labor’s decision to split education across multiple portfolios hindered the capacity of different parts of the system to work together to improve educational standards.

The Hon Christopher Pyne MP will be Minister for Education and Leader of the House and will work with the states and territories to deliver real improvements across all aspects of education. The Hon Sussan Ley MP as Assistant Minister for Education will continue her work with child care and early childhood education. Senator Scott Ryan will be Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education.

The Hon Ian Macfarlane MP returns as Minister for Industry having held this role during the last two terms of the Howard Government. Mr Macfarlane’s experience and record of success will be invaluable as we seek to build more competitive industries across Australia. The new Industry portfolio will include responsibility for energy and resources. The Hon Bob Baldwin MP will be Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry.

I regret the absence of Sophie Mirabella who was a champion for Australian industry, particularly manufacturers.

The Hon Kevin Andrews MP will be Minister for Social Services and be responsible for the largest area of expenditure and payments in the Budget. The new department will also be responsible for settlement services, multicultural affairs and the administration of aged care. Senator Mitch Fifield will be Assistant Minister for Social Services responsible for the development of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and aged care. Senator Marise Payne will be Minister for Human Services. Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells will be Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Social Services with special responsibility for multicultural affairs and settlement services.

The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP as Minister for Communications will deliver a new business plan for the NBN so that we can deliver fast broadband sooner and at less cost. Mr Paul Fletcher MP will be Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Communications.

The Hon Peter Dutton MP will be Minister for Health and Minister for Sport. Senator Fiona Nash will be Assistant Minister for Health. Responsibility for mental health will rest with Peter Dutton ensuring responsibility for this issue remains in Cabinet.

Small business employs almost one in two Australians and its stand-alone presence in Cabinet acknowledges its role in job creation. The Hon Bruce Billson MP is an evangelist for small business and will drive the Government’s small business agenda.

The Hon Andrew Robb AO MP, serving as Minister for Trade and Investment, will be Australia’s ambassador for jobs by expanding Australia’s participation in free trade agreements.

Senator the Hon David Johnston will be Minister for Defence and will drive the development of the Defence White Paper as well as overseeing the Coalition’s defence procurement programme. Senator the Hon Michael Ronaldson will be the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Special Minister of State and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC. The Centenary of ANZAC will be a significant marker in our country’s history. Mr Stuart Robert MP will be Assistant Minister for Defence with responsibility for personnel matters. Mr Darren Chester MP will be Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence.

The Hon Greg Hunt MP as Minister for the Environment will have responsibility for the abolition of the carbon tax, implementation of the Coalition’s Direct Action plan, the establishment of the Green Army and the creation of a one-stop-shop for environmental approvals. Senator Simon Birmingham will be Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and have responsibility for water.

Mr Scott Morrison MP will be Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. Senator Michaelia Cash will be Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. This is a strong team to stop the boats.

Recognising its key role in border protection, Customs will be in this portfolio.

Senator Cash will also be appointed as Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women.

As promised, the administration of indigenous affairs will move into the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Senator the Hon Nigel Scullion will be Minister for Indigenous Affairs.

Recognising the value of deregulation to improving Australia’s productivity, responsibility for driving the Government’s deregulation agenda will shift to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Mr Josh Frydenberg MP and Mr Alan Tudge MP will be my Parliamentary Secretaries.

The Hon Bronwyn Bishop MP, with my support, is nominating for the role of Speaker.

The Hon Warren Entsch MP has agreed to chair a new Joint Parliamentary Committee on Northern Australia. Carefully developing our long-term plan for Northern Australia will be a priority of the new Coalition government.

The Hon Philip Ruddock MP has agreed to be Chief Government Whip. I can think of no better person in the House to guide the 30 or so new Coalition members in their duties. Ms Nola Marino MP and Mr Scott Buchholz MP have also agreed to be Whips. Mark Coulton is the Nationals’ Chief Whip.

The Senate Whips are elected by the Liberal and Nationals Senate Party Rooms. The current Senate Whips are Senator Helen Kroger (Chief Government Whip), Senator David Bushby (Deputy Government Whip), Senator Chris Back (Deputy Government Whip) and Senator John Williams (Nationals Whip).

This is an experienced and talented team. It will deliver results for the Australian people from day one.

NACCHO political alert:In Closing the Gap Governments must be judged on results;Scullion

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Senator Nigel Scullion pictured above centre talking with the mob at  Utopia and Ampilawatja NT along with now Chief Minister Adam Giles (left) PICTURE STORY@ CAAMA

In Closing the Gap, Governments should not be judged simply on good intentions or the amount of money spent, they should be judged on results, Shadow Indigenous Affairs Minister Senator Nigel Scullion said.

“Minister Macklin’s speech about progress in closing the gap as usual focused on the money spent, bureaucratic structures and plans and performance measured against inputs rather than outputs,” Senator Scullion said.

 “I agree with Macklin when she says that after five years now is an appropriate time to reflect on what Labor has achieved. Arguable progress in only three of the six closing the gap targets is not much of a scorecard.

 “Closing the gap is a bi‐partisan task and we share the Government’s good intentions absolutely, but in all things delivery has never been a strong suit of the Gillard Government.

 “I also agree with Macklin that we need sustained change over time, but you cannot simply flick the switch to autopilot and walk away. You can’t simply cough up the money and then let the bureaucrats waste it.

 “Saying sorry was an important national milestone and generated great expectations. Kevin Rudd himself declared on the day that progress in housing would be his priority. Their SIHIP housing project in the NT in particular has been a disaster with the task of eliminating overcrowding still ahead of us despite the massive expenditure.

 “The reduction in the infant mortality rate has been on track to achieve the target since 1998 under the Howard government. Halving the gap for indigenous students in year 12 was also headed in that direction before the Rudd/Gillard Government came to power.

 “They say they will achieve the target for access to early education for 4 year olds in remote areas.

 Frankly I do not believe the spin, it smacks of more bureaucratic smoke and mirrors. The centrepiece of their remote area strategy was to be the construction of 38 preschools – but it turns out that most of these are located in non‐remote areas and it is not clear how many have been built.

 While they praise themselves for the supposed number of enrolments the Prime Minister herself admitted that the results did not indicate the level of actual attendance‐and that is what really counts.

 “The gap in the unemployment rate has only reduced by less than two percent since 2006. Macklin did not mention the abysmal NAPLAN results in her speech as they show the education gap has gone backwards in 14 of the 20 NAPLAN indicators since 2011. Sadly the life expectancy gap appears not to have demonstrably changed.

 In Closing the Gap, Governments should not be judged simply on good intentions or the amount of money spent, they should be judged on results, Shadow Indigenous Affairs Minister Senator Nigel Scullion said.