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Daffen report supports Coalition view



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PETER NUGENT Federal Member for AstonRELEASE SHADOW MINISTER FOR ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER AFFAIRS DAFFEN REPORT SUPPORTS COALITION VIEW

The Daffen Report into the workings of ATSIC has highlighted many of the concerns expressed by the Coalition in the last 12 months.

I and other members of the Coalition have repeatedly said that too much of ATSIC'S Budget is spent in Canberra. Last week Charlie Perkins, in his Federal Budget Press Release of 10 May acknowledged that the percentage of ATSIC money spent on administration would increase to 15%. On the "7.30 Report" last night Dr Shergold emphasised that the Daffen Report found ATSIC's administration to date to have been 10%. This means an outrageous 50% increase in

administration costs!

The Daffen Report also confirmed that 37% of ATSIC's staff are Canberra based bureaucrats. As I have travelled around the country in the last 12 months talking to indigenous /- -communities, there has been a loud and clear message that indigenous people themselves are dissatisfied with ATSIC. They want to see more consultation with communities and more

localised decision-making. I have passed this message on to ATSIC ad nauseam.

The leadership of ATSIC has been ultra sensitive to any form of constructive comment during the last year. It should have been obvious to them a long time ago that there needed to be a change of emphasis from the centre to the communities. What we heard on television last night was a belated acknowledgment of this.

Protestations that the large bureaucracy is need for "accountability" rings somewhat hollow. You can been lean and mean and still have appropriate and efficient accountability mechanisms. ATSIC has deliberately chosen the Labor Government centralist approach. It is

obvious this has now failed.

Whilst ATSIC has successes to its credit, the accountability and responsibility of the Minister and ATSIC's leaders now requires swift action to rectify the shortcomings clearly identified in the Daffen Report. Anything less will be a betrayal of the indigenous people of this country.

17 May 1994 36/94

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MICAH 4

For further information contact Peter Nugent on 06277-2088 or 06-231 6828 ah