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Thursday, 19 June 2014
Page: 6810


Mr NEUMANN (Blair) (11:56): I assume the parliamentary secretary is aware of a functions role and responsibility for the Prime Minister's Indigenous Advisory Council, having worked closely with the council. Mr Warren Mundine is the appointed and remunerated head of the Indigenous Advisory Council which provides advice to and works with the government to implement Indigenous policy. When it comes to the council, I would like the parliamentary secretary to outline the budgeted remuneration levels of each member of the council. How much is Mr Mundine being paid? What are the levels of remuneration and the details of that remuneration, and those for his deputy chair and, of course, each member of the council? Could the parliamentary secretary outline the total cost to the budget of the operation of the Indigenous Advisory Council for the 2014-15 financial year as well as across the forward estimates?

The Indigenous Advisory Council is responsible for the provision of Indigenous policy to the government. Did the council support the $534.4 million cut to Indigenous programs in the budget? Can the parliamentary secretary advise how and when the council was consulted about the budget measures in the 2014-15 budget round? How many times did the council meet before the budget and with which members of the government? Was the council consulted and did the council provide advice on all the budget measures? If not, can the parliamentary secretary explain why not?

Can the parliamentary secretary advise the chamber how often the Indigenous Advisory Council meets? Is every member present at every meeting? What are the quorum requirements for the council? Can the parliamentary secretary confirm that Mr Mundine has met with the members of the government on behalf of the Indigenous Advisory Council? When was the last time the council met and when will they meet next?

As the appointed remunerated head of the Indigenous Advisory Council, Mr Mundine is reported in the media as having announced a second round of cuts in Indigenous affairs program in the order of $600 million. Mr Mundine announced as the head of the Indigenous Advisory Council that he is meeting with the Treasurer Joe Hockey and finance minister Mathias Cormann to cut an additional $600 million from the Indigenous affairs budget. Can the parliamentary secretary confirm whether the $600 million in cuts mentioned by Mr Mundine is in the forward estimates? Did Mr Mundine meet with the Treasurer and finance minister before or after the budget was handed down? Who within the government authorised the new funding cuts? Does the government agree with and stand by the appointed and remunerated head of the Indigenous Advisory Council about the second wave of cuts? Are you working on or have you got more cuts in the forward estimates? Given the current level of $534 million is not able to be achieved through administrative efficiencies, is it being called from programs and where is the next round of cuts coming from? Why are further cuts being discussed within the government when the full impact of the current round of cuts is not yet known?

I want to quote from Mr Mundine on the ABC World Today program on 5 June 2014:

We did some modelling on repair and maintenance of housing and there's no doubt from the modelling that we got back that you can save 24 per cent … on the repair and maintenance of housing, and you can save from 5, 10 per cent in other areas.

I would like the parliamentary secretary to talk about the modelling. What is the modelling Mr Mundine has referred to, why was it undertaken and what else did it reveal? Will he reveal the modelling? What was the scope of the modelling and has the modelling been authorised? If so, by what authority has the work been undertaken? Or is Mr Mundine effectively operating as the unelected minister for Indigenous affairs?