LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Sir – The Abbott Government is honouring its commitments to make getting children to school, adults into work, and building safe communities the key priorities of policy for Indigenous Australians.
The Government is delivering $18 million for the continuation of the Remote School Attendance Strategy, which is targeting 74 schools in remote communities across the country.
The 2014-15 Budget also delivers more than $13 million for the Clontarf Foundation Academy to provide an additional 3,000 places for students to participate in the Sporting Chance program which seeks to improve health, education, training and employment outcomes. The Government will respond to the Forrest Review of Indigenous training and employment programs later this year.
The 2014-15 Budget also delivers more than $54 million for new police infrastructure to improve policing in remote communities which will help make more communities safer, particularly for women and children.
The Government is fixing the bureaucratic mess we inherited by transferring a multitude of programs from eight different agencies to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
The 2014-15 Budget invests $4.8 billion to replace more than 150 individual programs and services with five streamlined broad-based programs under an Indigenous Advancement Strategy to make it easier for organisations delivering services on the ground. The five new streams are:-
• Jobs, land and economy – getting adults into work, fostering Indigenous business and assisting Indigenous people to generate economic and social benefits from effective use of their land.
• Children and schooling – getting children to school, improving education outcomes and supporting families to give children a good start in life.
• Safety and wellbeing – ensuring that Indigenous people are healthy and enjoy the emotional and social wellbeing experienced by other Australians.
• Culture and capability – supporting Indigenous Australians to maintain their culture, participate in the economic and social life of the nation and ensure that organisations are capable of delivering quality services to their clients; and
• Remote Australia strategies – strategic investment in local, flexible solutions based on community priorities and remote housing and infrastructure.
The new programs will be implemented gradually over the first quarter of 2014-15.
The Government will transform delivery of services to Indigenous Australians by establishing a new Remote Community Advancement Network to deliver demonstrable improvements in school attendance, employment and community safety.
This will support a new engagement with Indigenous people, allowing us to be more flexible with funding and to ensure it meets the aspirations and priorities of communities, rather than a one-size- fits-all approach.
We will reform National Partnership Agreements to ensure money spent achieves results.
The National Partnership Agreement on Remote Service Delivery will be replaced when it expires in June 2014 by the new Remote Community Advancement Network and bilateral arrangements with each state and territory.
The National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing will be subject to more stringent conditions, based on Government priorities, negotiated bilaterally with each state and territory.
Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory will be revised in collaboration with the Northern Territory Government to place greater emphasis on results, rather than process.
NT Senator Nigel Scullion
Minister for Indigenous Affairs
Leader of the Nationals in the Senate
[The Alice Springs News Online has requested a response from NT Labor Senator Nova Peris.]
LETTER TO THE EDITOR