NACCHO election 2013 alert: Macklin claims Abbott’s not-so-secret plan to cut $1.6 billion from Indigenous Australians

Tony Abbott

Throughout the election period NACCHO will present views from all sides of politics

The following is a release from the Hon Jenny Macklin

Tony Abbott’s budget reply speech last night didn’t include a single sentence on his priorities for Indigenous Australians – but that doesn’t mean Indigenous people aren’t in his sights.

Buried in his speech was Tony Abbott’s real plans for Indigenous programs and organisations:

“by not implementing any of the budget spending measures unless specified”

  • Tony Abbott, Budget in reply, 16 May 2013

Tony Abbott wants to keep it a secret, but the fact is he will make savage cuts to programs and organisations that improve the lives of Indigenous Australians.

This week’s Budget continued the Gillard Labor Government’s unprecedented investments to close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage.

The Budget included $1.6 billion in funding for improved health, education, essential services, welfare reform, recognition and advocacy.

Funding included:

  • $777 million for a new National Partnership Agreement to improve health services for Indigenous Australians;
  • $22 million to help young Indigenous people finish secondary school and go onto university, including a $10 million boost to the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation;
  • More than $24 million to continue the Cape York Welfare reform measures, building on the significant gains we’ve already made for Indigenous families in these communities;
  • $12 million to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services, which assist people in the juvenile and criminal justice system and help Indigenous women to escape domestic violence;
  • More than $44 million to help deliver services in about 340 remote Indigenous communities, including power, water and road maintenance;
  • $15 million to continue supporting the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, which provides Indigenous people with a strong national voice;
  • More than $6 million to refurbish hostels that provide Indigenous people with safe and affordable temporary accommodation; and
  • $1.3 million to continue building support for the recognition of Indigenous people in our Constitution.

This funding directly improves the lives of Indigenous people – so why does Tony Abbott want to take it all away?

It’s clear that Tony Abbott will cut services to the bone if he is elected Prime Minister – and Indigenous people won’t be spared.

He wants to keep it a secret – but the truth is already out.

“Coalition sources confirm Aboriginal Affairs will see the axe wielded, should Tony Abbott take Government in September.”

  • Paul Bongiorno, Ten News, 19 April 2013

After years of underinvestment and neglect under the Howard Government, this Labor Government has made unprecedented investments to close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage, with more than $5.2 billion in funding for employment, education, health services, community development and community safety.

We have set out a clear pathway to close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage, and we’re making the investments that are needed to get there. The progress we’ve made over the past five years in partnership with Indigenous people has delivered encouraging results.

Mr Abbott puts all of this progress at risk.

Only Labor can be trusted to deliver for Indigenous Australians.

NACCHO news alert:Abbott must guarantee he won’t cut Indigenous funding-Macklin

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NACCHO Aboriginal Health News Alerts will in the lead update to the 2013 Federal Election September 14  publish press releases from all political parties in the areas of Aboriginal Health and social determinants.

The press release below from the office of  Minister Macklin (pictured above) follows the incident last week when Dr Mark Roberts Chief policy officer from Tony Abbotts office was demoted after threatening to “cut the throat” of a prominent Australian’s non-profit organisation by cancelling funding once in power.

Dr Roberts reportedly made the threat to Australian Indigenous Education Foundation chief Andrew Penfold at a Sydney dinner on Thursday.AIEF Foundation provides scholarships to help educate 2000 Indigenous children and supports others in financial need.

PRESS RELEASE

Coalition  sources have confirmed that Opposition Leader Tony Abbott will slash vital funding that improves the lives of Indigenous Australians.

“While Dr Roberts’ funding threat may have been in the heat of the moment, Coalition sources confirm Aboriginal Affairs will see the axe wielded, should Tony Abbott take Government in September.”

–       Paul Bongiorno, Ten News, 19 April 2013

Tony Abbott must guarantee today that no funding invested in programs for Indigenous people would go if he is elected.

After years of underinvestment and neglect under the Howard Government, this Labor Government has made unprecedented investments to close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage, with more than $5.2 billion in funding for employment, education, health services, community development and community safety.

Just this week, the Government committed $777 million to renew our work to close the gap on Indigenous health outcomes.

Meanwhile, one of Tony Abbott’s most senior staff was using violent language against the respected head of an organisation supporting Indigenous people, and threatening to cut their funding “when in Government.”

The Gillard Government’s unprecedented investments to close the gap are making a difference. This year we are meeting our first closing the gap target, with more Indigenous children having access to pre-school or kindergarten than ever before, and our target of halving the gap in mortality rates for Indigenous children under five by 2018 is also on track to be met.

The progress we’ve made in partnership with Indigenous people is at risk under a conservative Abbott Government.

Tony Abbott and the Liberals can’t be trusted to deliver for Indigenous people.

We welcome comments below