Thursday, September 23, 2021

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HomeIssue 4Aboriginals Benefit Account: 'Libs have runs on board'

Aboriginals Benefit Account: 'Libs have runs on board'

p2046-Nigel-Scullion-3LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Sir – Labor’s talk is cheap in Indigenous Affairs. All spin and no substance.
Labor’s hollow announcement that it would work with the Land Councils to reform Aboriginals Benefit Account (ABA) funding processes flies in the face of Labor’s record and willfully ignores the positive changes the Coalition has made in office.
Labor’s media release does not announce anything. All Labor is committing to is to talk to the Northern Territory Land Councils about the ABA – something that is a part and parcel of being the Minister for Indigenous Affairs. What a commitment!
Labor has a track record of using the ABA as a political slush fund without any respect for the authority of the ABA Advisory Committee and Aboriginal people in the NT.
In 2013, Labor’s then Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin and Warren Snowdon approved funding of $90 million for government staff housing without proper consultation with the ABA Advisory Committee.
Ms Macklin and Mr Snowdon consistently used the ABA to fund projects and programmes that governments should fund, to the point that Labor expenditure from the Account exceeded the revenue that was going in.
This is in complete contravention of the intention of the Account to be a fund for the long-term benefit of Aboriginal people in the NT for many generations to come.
Unsurprisingly, Labor ignores the substantial reforms that have been made by the Coalition in the past three years that have seen the value of the Account increase by about $100m.
That is money that will directly improve the lives of Aboriginal people in the NT rather than increasing the funding for Land Councils.
Labor has not even committed to match the Coalition’s policy to only fund grant projects that have been approved by the ABA Advisory Committee – critical to our commitment to work with Aboriginal people.
The ABA media release follows Labor’s announcement regarding the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples in which it criticised me for not funding Congress.
That would have more weight if Labor had promised to fund the organisation. Except it didn’t.
I challenge Labor to clarify what specifically it will change to the way ABA funding is allocated and how much, if any, funding it will provide to Congress. Otherwise its announcements are not worth the paper they are written on.
Nigel Scullion
Minster for Indigeous Affairs (pictured)
[We have invited Mr Snowdon to respond.]


  1. Nigel, no-one is fooled by your CLP lies … this is not about Labor or CLP but Aboriginal people, and you have been trying very hard to take the money away from Aboriginal people and give it to you CLP cronies.
    I agree with Marianne’s comments. [You cannot] fool the public. FOIs will most certainly show how many applications for funding from your buddies has landed on the desk of the ABA since you lot have been in power.
    Interesting how when ever you get cornered you revert to the old “but I am just a busted arse fisherman”.
    Heaven help us if you manage to get back into power.

  2. All the parties are responsible, all the Members of the Commonwealth Parliament.
    With respect for Justice Woodward, I continue to disagree with parts of his solution.
    Transferring titles for land to “Aboriginal” Trusts has not been the problem.
    The problem is Commonwealth racist policies.
    Commonwealth has ongoing racist tinkering, with ongoing reprehensible Commonwealth racist policies.
    These Commonwealth racist policies clearly operational prior to and post the 1967 Referenda.
    Commonwealth maintains ongoing claim to possess authority to qualify our rights and responsibilities as Australians using racial identification.
    Australians certainly voted for NO RACIST legislation.
    Commonwealth racism, Commonwealth segregationist policies remain central to ongoing problems.
    Corporate Land Trust decisions need be for them and their identified members to make.
    Yet Commonwealth requires Land Trusts jump through management and control hoops reflecting gross Commonwealth racist control desires.
    Commonwealth invades and controls these Land Trust’s decision making capabilities to suit Commonwealth whims.
    Commonwealth requires that corporate Land Trusts not obey nation wide reasonably understood legislation concerning landlord and tenant duties, or managing corporate responsibilities.
    Commonwealth instead “tweaks” these responsibilities and duties.
    Commonwealth claims this “to assist” these corporate entities, yet conditions required to satisfy more complicated and difficult to satisfy than for conventional corporate entities.
    Land Trusts around Alice Springs should only need to satisfy their conventional land-owner and corporate responsibilities.
    As land-lords or agents their failures to develop, their failures to maintain housing, their refusal to issue viable leases to tenants housing, would all be easily resolved.
    Instead they fall into a financial bog with the conditions required of these Land Trust’s management policies.
    Major parties require these corporate land trusts, along with their Commonwealth assigned statutory property agent, land councils to ignore basic law, jump through changing Commonwealth administrative minefields.
    So control of these Land Trusts decision making capabilities, remain greatly subject to Commonwealth administrative whims, as written into their grant conditions.
    The Land Councils and Land Trusts fail their members by remaining in this racist political game, so close to the sign on the gate saying “work sets you free”.
    The Commonwealth’s over-complicated resolution of land claims, of self-management, remain clearly obstruct actions.
    Land Trusts as shareholder corporate land trusts would have simpler dividend distributions, would encourage further maintenance, investment and developments.
    Instead self-management tosses around like a bob on a stormy sea, first one way, then another, to suit Commonwealth ideological, racist, policy waves, all of which maintain the Commonwealth’s claim of authority to divide, to segregate, to separate Australians and their families using racial measurements.


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