IAD may close


Sir – A key Central Australian Indigenous education and training organisation may have to close its doors because of cuts to essential funding under the Federal Government’s Indigenous Advancement strategy.
The Institute for Aboriginal Development (IAD), one of Central Australia’s oldest Aboriginal community controlled organisations, has had its funding cut to the point where it may no longer be able to operate.
These cuts are harsh and will have a devastating impact for Aboriginal peoples of Central Australia who are already among the most disadvantaged in the country in terms of training and job prospects.
It is very distressing that the IAD, with our specific mandate to provide training that assists Aboriginal people into jobs, is having its funding cut at a time when the public debate is about improving employment prospects for Aboriginal people. If the IAD is not given new funding, we will simply have to close our doors.
The organisation has an established track record in sourcing and providing training that leads to real jobs for Aboriginal people through such programs as Work Ready, Business and IT training packages.
This really is a black Friday for Aboriginal people in Central Australia who rely on organisations like ours to provide culturally appropriate, safe and respectful training that leads to real jobs.
The federal government’s rhetoric about closing the gap was meaningless if Aboriginal organisations at the coal face continue to be weakened by funding cuts and no new funding support to grow and develop successful models.
We already have a catastrophic situation in terms of the appalling life expectancy gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians, so why go down the path of making that gap bigger?
There will also be a flow on effect to the wider Alice Springs economy, with fewer jobs and less money being spent in town.
Jenny Bedford
CEO Institute of Aboriginal Development


  1. ONE TERM TONY – so called Prime Minister for indigenous people and women is ruining anything that seems to work.

  2. I used to drive past IAD every day for three to four months and not once did I see any activity on campus. A few cars were parked and all buildings bar one looked very neglected.
    The CEO’s letter omitted mention of the number of people completing training, type of training, number of people placed in jobs and funds received. Wonder why?
    [ED – We put related questions to IAD yesterday but have received no reply so far.]

  3. I’m not suggesting that IAD don’t do a good job. But how many different similar organisations are in town? Are we really seeing improvements for the expenditure of such huge amounts of tax $s. That is the debate that we need to have.

  4. What is the point for the PM to support recognition of Aboriginal people in the Australian constitution, if their right to an education that “closes the gap” is not upheld?
    It saddens me to see 40 years of efforts and energies to build up IAD as a unique center for adult education and community development gone to waste!

  5. I have never read such a lot of rubbish. It is time the Aboriginal councils started funding and looking after their people, and not putting their money in the banks. Look after the average person in the street. With all the cattle stations owned in NT the Aboriginal people should eat free meat.

  6. It may be a good thing if it closes so it can get a new team in with new ideas.
    It has done great things in the past, but that is the past.
    Most of the facilities need an overhaul bar the new part and I do feel for the current staff if they lose their jobs.

  7. IAD is an outstanding Aboriginal Organisation, it was the first Aboriginal Organisation in Central Australia and has delivered endless outcomes for the community.
    Commentary that the place is not used and is falling apart is completely outrageous. People should actually visit and speak to people about the organisation. You’d get a better picture of the work that is being done on that campus to benefit Aboriginal people.
    IAD has a strong reputation in the community for delivering programs for people with low literacy and numeracy, working to get people job ready and there wonderful press house. They also deliver a range of programs off campus to people in remote areas.
    I was informed that recently removed buildings due to their building certifications and asbestos, so rather than just being plain ignorant you should find out the reasons why the site maybe looking the way it does.
    Many people I known have been students of IAD and they have excelled in their careers.

  8. @ Lou Hayes: Better still, Lou, suggest to IAD to reply to media which are asking them for information, as we did, without getting a response, today and last Friday.
    We’ve done lots of stories in the past about IAD and IAD Press. Google our site and find out.
    Ps.: I used to fly around the countryside in light aircraft with IAD founder, the Rev Jim Downing. I even retrieved a Cessna for him from an incredibly remote outstation in WA where he had landed with engine failure.

  9. @ Lou Hayes.
    It’s good to be busy and deliver programs, but outcomes are what matters.
    If IAD has delivered “endless outcomes”, why should they be shy about blowing their trumpet? Why won’t the organisation give us “a better picture of the work that is being done” by responding to very reasonable questions?
    By the way, an outcome in my view is not the award of a certificate in work readiness, small engine repair, driver education, etc, but someone doing a job on or near community.
    If you feel the need to respond, before you do please see the Alice Springs News Online story posted 16 March about all the job opportunities funded through CLC / Centrecorp but not taken up by remote community members.

  10. Gee Heckler, you sound remarkably like Erwin! Trying to boost your readership through your outlandish and unfounded comments about Aboriginal organisations in Alice perhaps?

  11. @ Erwin Chlanda, while you were swanning around in your Cessna, more than likely that the staff within excellent organisations like IAD were getting the job done.

  12. @ 7: Looking back through the archives a year ago there is a letter from the then IAD Chairperson, Patricia Turner, explaining why the IAD cafe had to close.
    It was deemed that it needed to “be a commercially viable enterprise which does not impose a financial cost on IAD.”
    Pity, as it was probably providing rare and real training on the campus. Apparently the current IAD Board expects a different standard for their own organisation.
    @ Fred. I keep wondering why the profits from the Aboriginal owned wealthy businesses cannot be the ones funding IAD etc. Or maybe they know that it’s a poor business investment? Is human capital left to the taxpayer?
    Did Centrecorp recently purchase the Memo Club? Did Lhere Artepe, the administrators of Native Title in Alice Springs, purchase three IGA supermarkets and bottlos?
    Why not buy, or fund the human capital in IAD?
    Were these businesses not taxpayer funded in the early days?
    Do CLC and Lhere Artepe receive ongoing taxpayer funding in addition to royalty monies?

  13. @ Tom T Hall. Outlandish? Anyone who has been around for more than a couple of years knows about the matters the Alice Springs News Online has raised repeatedly with Centrecorp.
    Unfounded? I reckon my 10+ years in and around indigenous organisations in Central Australia counts for something, as do the many people I’ve got to know, some in the organisations that come in for special attention in the Alice News.
    It’s not unreasonable to expect organisations and individuals to be accountable. Keeping numbers (financial, student numbers, pass / fail, etc) is a small part of it so it shouldn’t take IAD too much time to pull together the information that could slap down the doubters, including me. I won’t be holding my breath though.

  14. Google the IAD annual report 2013-14. Module completion of educational courses is only 36%.
    That’s just modules, not whole courses.
    Interesting how there is no data in the report on course completion and graduate job attainment.
    How can government spending be justified in the face of such poor educational outcomes?


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