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Tuesday, 16 October 1984
Page: 1815

(Question No. 1147)


Senator Reynolds asked the Minister representing the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, upon notice, on 2 October, 1984:

(1) What is the basis for the levels of funding which are allocated to Aboriginal programs by (a) Department of Aboriginal Affairs, (b) Aboriginal Development Commission and (c) Aboriginal Arts Board;

(2) Would it not be appropriate for funding to reflect per capita allocations in view of the fact that Queensland has 29 per cent of Australian Aboriginal and Islander population;

(3) What is the percentage funding to Queensland from each of the organisations in (1) above.


Senator Ryan —The Minister for Aboriginal Affairs has provided the following answers to the honourable senator's question:

(1) (a) The Department of Aboriginal Affairs bases its allocation of funds on need and the continuation of ongoing programs which are supported by the Aboriginal Communities Area and Regional Offices of the Department in Queensland .

Funding for the expansion of these programs or the commencement of new programs in Queensland is assessed with other competing demands from other States and Territories and funds are allocated on the basis of needs as determined by the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs on advice from his Department and other advisory bodies such as the National Aboriginal Conference and the National Aboriginal and Islanders Health Organisation.

(b) The Aboriginal Development Commission has informed me that funding allocations for 1984-85 were based on the maintenance in real terms of a level of expenditure appropriate to the orderly continuation of Housing, Land and Enterprise programs formulated on a needs basis.

With regard to Housing loans the Commission approves loans on the basis of a national waiting list in an order of priority determined by ballot.

(c) The Aboriginal Arts Board comes under the portfolio of the Minister for Home Affairs and Environment. The Department of Home Affairs and Environment has advised as follows:

(i) In assessing grant applications the Aboriginal Arts Board takes into account the extent to which each application meets the following policy objectives and criteria:

To make a significant contribution to reviving, maintaining or developing Aboriginal cultural and artistic traditions

To assist the emergence of new forms of artistic expression among Aboriginal people

To be of relevance and benefit to the Aboriginal community participating

To promote the creative use of Aboriginal cultural resources leading to greater respect and understanding of Aboriginal artistic and cultural traditions and

To give rise to excellence and the best professional work in the variety of art forms practised by Aboriginals.

The Aboriginal Arts Board currently gives funding priority to the following groups:

children/young people

women

unemployed and prisoners

In 1983-84 the Budget allocated to the Aboriginal Arts Board was $1,108.817.

(ii) The Aboriginal Arts Board awards grants in response to applications received and on the basis of established funding criteria.

The Board aims to assist all Aboriginal people to participate in the arts and to develop individual talents while promoting a wide appreciation and enjoyment of traditional and contemporary arts of Aboriginal people both in Australia and elsewhere.

It is not considered appropriate that funding should be based solely on a per capita or State basis.

(iii) Total grants of $158,526 were approved by the Aboriginal Arts Board in Queensland in the 1983-84 financial year. This represented 14.3% of the total budget for the Aboriginal Arts Board.

(2) In respect of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Aboriginal Development Commission programs, as mentioned earlier, funds are allocated on a needs basis.

The Department and the Commission consider that would be inappropriate to allocate funding on a per capita basis given the varying needs of Aborigines and Aboriginal Communities and also given the amount of other assistance available from other funding bodies or otherwise-State and Local Government in particular.

In respect of the programs of the Aboriginal Arts Board-refer to (c) (2) above.

(3) From the Department of Aboriginal Affairs, Queensland is to receive 16.8% of funds appropriated for direct grants to Aboriginals and grants to or for the States and the Northern Territory in 1984-85.

From the Aboriginal Development Commission, Queensland is to receive 20.2% of Housing Grant funds and 17.1% of Land and Enterprise funds.

The program for housing loans is determined progressively however for the 1983- 84 financial year 30.3% of Housing loans approved were for Queensland borrowers.

For the Aboriginal Arts Board refer to (c) (3) above.