Indigenous Affairs will not be seeing much of the $45 million spruiked in the budget. In fact they will be lucky to see 5% of that spent on indigenous specific programs, projects, or grants.
If this government was as good at spending money in the areas of the budget where this would make the most significant difference, and here I refer to education, health care, housing and community services, it would not need to be spending as much money in the area of indigenous justice.
If we add together the actual money being spend this financial year on indigenous matters:
- One million to Winnunga to begin their new building works – the remainder will hopefully be made available in the coming years
- A spending commitment of $25 thousand this year on ‘seed funding’ grants for new and emerging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander controlled organisations. But there is a lack of clarity and transparency about what is intended with this money.
- $100 thousand on the arts
- About $50 thousand on the employment of a level 5 administrative officer in Throughcare
- And about one million on legal centres.
The number is actually closer to $2 million, which is a far cry from the $45 million spruiked in their glossy brochure. In fact, it amounts to about 5 percent of the promised money for this year.
In closing, I want to reiterate the important recommendation made by the Estimates Committee for this portfolio area, and this is to call on the ACT government to provide a separate and detailed annexe to the budget papers which details specific indigenous spending, progress made against targets, and outcomes reached, for relevant output classes and accountability indicators.