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Monday, 22 September 2014
Page: 9969

Indigenous Affairs

Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongLeader of the Opposition) (14:52): My question is to the Prime Minister. I do commend the Prime Minister on his visit to Arnhem Land last week. After meeting with Aboriginal communities and learning more about the challenges they face, is the Prime Minister now prepared to reverse the $500 million cuts in his budget to Indigenous services?

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahPrime Minister) (14:52): There have been some modest reductions in funding for some programs, but I think the Leader of the Opposition will find that overall Indigenous spending continues to increase every year. What we are seeking to do is to bring about efficiencies in Indigenous spending. I should point out for the benefit of the Leader of the Opposition that the changes which he refers to in his question were well and truly discussed and workshopped with my Indigenous Advisory Council, led by a former National President of the Australian Labor Party, and those changes were supported by the Indigenous Advisory Council.

Members of the Indigenous Advisory Council—all Australians of good will—are determined to ensure that we do get maximum value from our spending. The Leader of the Opposition and everyone in this House, certainly not simply members on this side of the House, should understand that the important thing is not what you spend; the important thing is the results you get, and that is what we are determined to achieve: better results when it comes to Indigenous policy and better results when it comes to getting the kids to school, the adults to work and the communities safe. That is what I am determined to do. I am very confident that we can get a better result for the Indigenous people of Australia with the changes that we have announced. It is my determination to get better results through more efficiency, more focus and more targeting in this spending.