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Tuesday, 15 November 1983
Page: 2747

Question No. 581

Mr Porter asked the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, upon notice, on 4 October 1983:

(1) How are the shares of the allocation of funds to State Governments for Aboriginal advancement determined.

(2) Is he in the process of altering, or does he propose to alter, the basis upon which funds are allocated; if so, how.

(3) In the event of increases in direct funding to Aboriginal organisations, will funding to State governments be maintained; if not on what basis will it be altered.

Mr Holding —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

The allocation of funds to State governments is determined on the basis of bids received from them and the priority placed on those bids within the level of funding available to my portfolio. Priorities are determined in consultation with Aboriginal advisory bodies, representatives of the National Aboriginal Conference and State departments.

This is done of course against the background of the Government's policy of promoting Aboriginal self-management. This is reflected in this year's budget where substantial additional funds have been provided by way of direct grants to Aboriginal organisations. The policy aims to promote greater involvement of Aboriginals in the management and control of projects which provide assistance to the Aboriginal community. It recognises that Aboriginals themselves are in the best position to determine what should be done and how it should be done.

A number of State governments are also pursuing the same policy, and this is particularly so in the health area where Aboriginal organisations are keen to accept greater responsibility for the delivery of health services. Reviews in Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales have resulted in recommendations for greater control of Aboriginal health services by Aboriginals. A review is planned to start soon in Western Australia and it is hoped that is results will be similar to those I have just mentioned.

The Government is also committed to ensuring that Aboriginal advancement programs which are funded through the States are developed in close consultation with Aboriginal people. In many areas substantial Aboriginal input has already been achieved. In others where this is not occurring, the Government will continue to press the States to involve Aboriginals in the development and management of programs which are financed with Commonwealth funds.