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Minister Scullion: Response to IAS report in The Australian
The Australian’s analysis today of Indigenous-specific funding is fundamentally flawed.
The writer confuses the outcomes of the grant-funding round under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) with other funding provided through the overall IAS.
As Minister, I was absolutely committed to ensuring providers delivering services to First Australians had certainty of funding. As a consequence, more than 80 per cent of the $1 billion in funding provided through the grant round has been contracted for more than two years. The grant round, for the first time, provided a comprehensive picture of funding to ensure money was spent to target areas of greatest need.
Amounts below $15,000 referred to in today’s story are largely payments to employers and educational institutions to support the employment or tuition of Indigenous workers and students. These are often based on three or six month outcomes. They are not grants to providers for the provision of services in communities.
Many of the payments to governments and its agencies, particularly the Northern Territory, is for the direct delivery of critical services, such as teachers and other school positions in remote schools.
Additionally the Commonwealth provides investment to the Northern Territory through national partnerships, outside the IAS, for improved housing amenity and critical direct service on the ground.
It should be no surprise that the Northern Territory receives significant amounts of Indigenous-specific funding from the Commonwealth. This reflects the disadvantage of many remote communities in the NT and is consistent with funding provided by previous Governments.
Similarly, some government departments and agencies are funded for additional costs associated with the employment of Indigenous people. This provides funds for additional training and mentoring support that may be required. Governments of all persuasions have provided these funds for many years as they provide a direct benefit to many First Australians.