NACCHO Funding News :Most groups funded under Indigenous advancement strategy non-Indigenous


Respectful engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples regarding these significant changes was conspicuous by its absence.If Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are to have confidence in these outcomes, we must be able to understand the process,” 

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social justice commissioner, Mick Gooda

More than half the organisations granted funding under the Indigenous advancement strategy are non-Indigenous, a Senate inquiry has been told.

NACCHO thanks  Follow on Twitter @heldavidson

from The Guardian for permission to publish ORGINAL HERE

Of the $4.9bn available, “about half” had already been allocated to existing programs before the first IAS application round opened, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet told the inquiry.

The Senate standing committee is examining the “impact on service quality, efficiency and sustainability” of the IAS after widespread confusion and dissatisfaction at the announcement of successful applications in March. The inquiry has received and published 58 submissions, with varying views.

In its submission the department defended the tender process and provided funding breakdowns, including that 45% of the organisations granted funding were Indigenous.

The Greens senator Rachel Siewert said it added “insult to injury” after the confusing process.

“The clear message from community members and stakeholders was that they wanted genuine conversations with the government, they want to run their own services and decide their own fate,” Siewert said.

The department also revealed while $4.9bn was allocated in the federal budget over four years, “approximately half” was already tied up in “dedicated funding arrangements” before the tender process began.

These included contracts which predated IAS such as the remote jobs and communities program and working on country programs.

Extending the assessment process owing to the overwhelming response also took further money from the pool as the government continued to fund more than 900 services which had been set to expire in the interim, leaving $2bn eventually available for applications.

Of that, $860m was committed in the first year, and some funding was set aside for demand-driven applications and to fill gaps identified during negotiations. The IAS has since allocated $20.5m to youth services in the Northern Territory.

In its submission the department acknowledged the IAS was a “significant shift for government” but said its introduction was “an opportunity to better target investment to three key government priorities of getting children to school, adults into work and making communities safer”.

“While the IAS funding round has been a significant undertaking particularly for Indigenous communities and the service sector, it has for the first time in at least a decade enabled government to look holistically at the suite of activities being delivered at both a sectorial and regional level.”

The department said it offered certainty to service providers as more than half the successful applicants had been offered funding contracts for two years or longer.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social justice commissioner, Mick Gooda, said in his submission “respectful engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples regarding these significant changes was conspicuous by its absence”.

He said many questions remain unanswered, including the amount of funding to each organisation, how it compared with what was requested, the period of contract granted, and which organisations lost funding altogether.

Gooda said the IAS “marked a shift to a competitive tender process” for unsuspecting organisations, and suggested it could have a negative impact on Indigenous-controlled organisations.

“If Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are to have confidence in these outcomes, we must be able to understand the process,” he wrote.

Having got “many calls” after the announcement of the process, Gooda said some organisations did not have the capacity to put together the complicated applications, a suggestion also made by the – otherwise largely supportive – North Australian Aboriginal Family Violence Legal Service.

Other organisations hired expensive consultants, and uncertainty led others to believe they did not fit the criteria, said Gooda.

The Community Council for Australia said it did not support historical funding models but criticised the IAS process for limited consultation, “top-down imposition of requirements” and apparent disregard or lack of knowledge about the realities of running services.

It said the IAS’s attempt to improve the “dog’s breakfast” of human service contracting was “undermined by the way this task was approached” including failing to heed recommendations from the productivity commission.

Using drastically reduced federal funding, the IAS sought to streamline myriad Indigenous funding arrangements into five key programs: jobs, land and economy; children and schooling, which received a third of funding; safety and wellbeing, which received nearly half ; culture and capability; and remote Australia strategies.

Geographically, the largest share went to eastern New South Wales (18%), which has a quarter of Australia’s Indigenous population, followed by greater Western Australia (13%) and the Top End and Tiwi Islands region (11%). A 10th of the funding went to central Australia.

“Regions in more remote areas attracted a greater share of IAS funding than their share of the Indigenous population reflecting relative need,” the submission said.

The department is continuing negotiations with applicants and will have 14 days to publish the final details once each is completed.



Have you got a good news story or comment to share with the 100,000 readers of our NACCHO Aboriginal Health Newspaper ?

Download our Advertising rate card here NACCHO Newspaper Advertising Rate Card

or online enquiries and contact info CLICK HERE

NACCHO Media Release: Long-term funding certainty needed to close the gap

Six-month funding extensions for programs under the Federal Government’s Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) announced this week by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet are welcome but long term certainty is needed for the success of front line Aboriginal health programs said the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO).

NACCHO Chairperson Matthew Cooke said proven programs relating to mental health, drug and alcohol addiction, social and emotional wellbeing and child and maternal health now fall under the Federal Government’s new IAS.

“These critical programs, many of which are run by Aboriginal community controlled health services across Australia have a proven track record in improving the health of Aboriginal people,” Mr Cooke said.

“We are seeing baby birth weights increasing and better health of Aboriginal mums which can be attributed at least in part to the good work of our programs.

“Given the terrifyingly high suicide rates we are seeing amongst young Aboriginal people in our communities, the programs tackling mental health, drug and alcohol are more vital than ever.

“While the interim funding arrangements mean these programs can remain functioning into early 2015, their clients still don’t know if they will be able to access the services they rely on beyond the next six months.

“This ongoing uncertainty is also impacting on the ability of program managers to recruit and retain quality staff as the workforce continues to live with the uncertainty that they may be unemployed in the new year.

“Many have already left or are actively looking for more secure employment.

“Continuity of care to clients and community is essential to close the gap and improving the client journey.

 “Moving 150 programs into the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet is a huge task and more resources are clearly needed to ensure funding applications are considered and continuity provided for these programs that are making a difference.

“We won’t close the gap overnight.

“Generational change will take a sustained effort, requiring ongoing, coordinated commitment to the programs that are working and delivering outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.”