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Thursday, 26 June 2014
Page: 4060

Indigenous Health


Senator STERLE (Western Australia) (14:28): My question is to the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Senator Scullion. I refer the minister to the 'Deadly Choices' program run by the Awabakal Newcastle Aboriginal Cooperative, which empowers young Aboriginal people to make healthy lifestyle choices and has yet to receive information on government funding past 30 June of this year. Given that the organisation will have to terminate this program due to funding uncertainty, can you advise the Senate of what impact this will have on the ground for young Indigenous people of Newcastle?


Senator SCULLION (Northern TerritoryMinister for Indigenous Affairs and Leader of The Nationals in the Senate) (14:29): I am sorry, but I am not able to advise the senator on that particular issue. I will try to get the information by close of business today and I will table that if I am able to. I will have to take that on notice.


Senator STERLE (Western Australia) (14:29): Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. Is the minister aware of the Healing Foundation, which supports Indigenous Australians impacted by the stolen generation? Is this a front-line service or not? Can the minister guarantee that funding for this program will not be cut?


Senator SCULLION (Northern TerritoryMinister for Indigenous Affairs and Leader of The Nationals in the Senate) (14:29): I am not sure about your definition of a front-line service. But I do not really think that is material because I do not believe—and, again, I will ensure that I am correct—that there is a cessation of funding to that organisation.


Senator STERLE (Western Australia) (14:30): Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. Given that the minister yesterday claimed this Prime Minister would 'accept the accountability which goes with being called the Prime Minister for Aboriginal and Islander people', why is the government cutting half a billion dollars from Indigenous programs and failing to provide certainty to front-line Indigenous organisations—who definitely need it most?


Senator SCULLION (Northern TerritoryMinister for Indigenous Affairs and Leader of The Nationals in the Senate) (14:30): I am very proud to be associated with a government that has a Prime Minister who is 'the Prime Minister for Aboriginal and Islander people'. I do not, however, accept the premise of the question. There will be no impact on front-line services—we have said that. It is simply inaccurate to say there have been cuts of $530 million. As I have said, as I will continue to say and as I will continue to ensure is the case, there is no impact on front-line services. In regard to the details, I said I would take them on notice.