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"Sunday" program cop-out - if Tickner isn't responsible then who is?



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MEDIA PETER NUGENT Federal Member for Aston RELEASE SHADOW MINISTER FOR ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER AFFAIRS "SUNDAY' PROGRAM COP-OUT - IF TICKNER ISN'T RESPONSIBLE THEN

WHO IS?

Yesterday's "Sunday" program drew attention to problems with the administration of ATSIC. Yet again this highlights the failures of the Minister to come to grips with his portfolio.

Time and again the Minister says he is not responsibile for the way ATSIC operates. Time and again ATSIC says they are bogged down by bureaucracy and accountability and it is all the fault of the Parliament.

Is it not time that Mr Tickner faced up to the fact that he, more than anyone else, is responsible for the effective operations of ATSIC? Is it not time that Minister Tickner acknowledged that it is his portfolio which expends over $800 million on Aboriginal programs each year?

Is it not time that Mr Tickner used the powers at his disposal in the form of the Office of Evaluation and Audit within ATSIC, the Australian National Audit Office within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and, ultimately,

Parliamentary legislation, to ensure that the funding for which he is accountable is fairly and responsibly allocated.

I have been saying for the last 12 months as I have travelled around Australia that there are disgraceful scenes in many indigenous communities which do not benefit from the Minister's platitudes or from excuses from the ATSIC Commissioners.

The expensively bound, gold embossed Regional Council Forward Plan displayed on the "Sunday" program is just one example of ATSIC's -preoccupation with extravagance on the trappings of office, rather than concentration on delivering the taxpayer's dollar to those in such sore need on the ground.

COMMONWEALTH

9 May 1994 PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY , 301'94

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For further information contact Peter Nugent on 06 277-2088 or 06-231 6828 oh