Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 19 March 2015
Page: 1954

Indigenous Advancement Strategy


Senator SIEWERT (Western AustraliaAustralian Greens Whip) (14:23): My question is to the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Senator Scullion. The Indigenous Advancement Strategy funding contracts have now been offered to organisations around Australia. Despite the promise not to cut front-line services, many youth services in Central Australia have not been re-funded or have had their funding seriously cut back, with the loss of at least 30 jobs. Was this an oversight? Can the minister reassure the Senate that these programs will be reviewed and that they will be allocated funding for youth services in Central Australia, particularly the MacDonnell Regional Council youth services and the Barkly Regional Council youth services?


Senator SCULLION (Northern TerritoryMinister for Indigenous Affairs and Leader of The Nationals in the Senate) (14:23): I can say with some confidence that the ones that you refer to in Central Australia—which were in the media, I think, about a week ago. I have always said that we would ensure that there are no gaps in services. On those services that you referred to a week ago: all those services were told last Friday that the funding that they had to run those particular youth services in the past would be maintained. I am surprised that you have not heard about that, Senator. As I have said, we left enough time between now and 30 June to ensure that any cuts to front-line services or perceived cuts in front-line services were remediated, and that has been done.


Senator SIEWERT (Western AustraliaAustralian Greens Whip) (14:24): Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. Can the minister confirm that they will receive their funding allocation plus indexation? How can the minister be sure that this oversight is the only oversight in this funding process? What steps are you taking to guarantee this, and when will you release a full list of the programs with details of funding?


Senator SCULLION (Northern TerritoryMinister for Indigenous Affairs and Leader of The Nationals in the Senate) (14:25): I cannot guarantee that that will be the only error out of 4,948 applications. Sometimes an application does not provide the advice for those nuances, so we will go back and seek other advice about some of those decisions. That is exactly what we are doing. But we have the time to do that because the funding ceases on 30 June, so we are actually doing that at the moment. So, no, I cannot guarantee that, but I can absolutely guarantee by 30 June—and we are down now to a small handful of negotiations. As I have said, sometimes it is a bit difficult to deal with it because the first time I hear about it is when somebody speaks to the ABC. I have indicated, 'Look, if you think the ABC can help you with that, that's terrific, but you're better off actually ringing my office,' and I will be much better placed to help them out.


Senator SIEWERT (Western AustraliaAustralian Greens Whip) (14:25): Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. What other funding programs and projects has the government identified or has the minister identified to date that have not received funding but that currently receive funding?


Senator SCULLION (Northern TerritoryMinister for Indigenous Affairs and Leader of The Nationals in the Senate) (14:26): I will probably be in a better position when we have finished the negotiations. There is not a large number of organisations, possibly under a dozen, but we are in negotiation with them at the moment.

Senator Siewert: What are they?

Senator SCULLION: I am not prepared to speak about those organisations until those negotiations have been finished. Within two weeks of each of the final contracts being signed, they will be up on the website. I think that is quite reasonable. I know that those organisations would not wish me to identify them until such time as the negotiations have been completed. As I said, we are being completely transparent about this. When the contract has been signed, it will be up on the website.