Indigenous Advisory Council: Budget 2014-15 Communique

Indigenous Advisory Council: Budget 2014-15 Communique

Indigenous Affairs Indigenous Advisory Council
Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

The Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council (the Council) argued for the totality of the budget in Indigenous Affairs to be retained, but acknowledges the system can be better focused.

The Council’s advice has been to ensure any savings required are found by reducing the costs of administration.

We welcome the new Indigenous Advancement Strategy and the $4.8 billion investment over the next four years. We are encouraged by the design of the Strategy and will continue to provide advice to the Government on its implementation.

Finding efficiencies, reducing duplication and cutting red tape will reduce the burden on Aboriginal people and organisations. This will allow the Government to better target spending and improve delivery on the ground in the key areas of education, jobs and making communities safer.

Under the previous funding system, many Indigenous organisations were receiving multiple grants for similar programmes, with a focus on process rather than outcomes.

The Council has heard of a case where a single organisation received 21 separate grants for similar programmes. In other cases, similar activities were funded in the same or neighbouring locations and sometimes through separate contracts with a single provider.

The Council sees the new strategy as a real opportunity for the Government to target spending, focus on outcomes, and ensure better delivery on the ground. The need to significantly streamline programme arrangements and focus on outcomes has been a consistent theme in the Council’s advice to the Government. We want to see investment in Indigenous Affairs have a measureable impact in priority areas.

Bringing together the large number of existing activities under five broad programmes means the Government should be able to better focus on priorities.

The transition to the new arrangements needs to offer interim stability and the opportunity to change the way government does business and delivers for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the longer term.

The new Indigenous Advancement Strategy comes into effect from 1 July 2014. The Council is reassured that all existing contracts will be honoured and many will be extended for six to 12 months while transition arrangements are put in place.

We look forward to these reforms delivering positive outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council is a directly appointed, non-representative group which provides advice to the Prime Minister on Indigenous issues. If you would like to know more you can contact us.