Based on information provided on the website of the Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Senator Nigel Scullion, and in the 2017 Budget Papers, an analysis of the recent 2017 Federal Budget allocations for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities indicates the following:
|CATEGORY||DETAIL OF ALLOCATIONS & ACTIVITIES||TOTAL ALLOCATION|
|Work-for-the-dole, Income Management, Community Development Program (CDP)||
|Employment (including Jobseekers and Prison to Work)||
o $33.2 million for pre-employment training and mentoring and expansion of the Prison to Work program for all job seekers under 21.
o $17.6 million to trial additional employment assistance to Indigenous prisoners as part of the Prison to Work response.
o $5 million to support community designed employment services in Yarrabah, Queensland.
o Immediate access to increased wage subsidies.
|Internal departmental research and evaluation||
The bulk of the budget is going to income management
While it’s acknowledged that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples access services and resources from a range of sources, and that some of the categories in the above data are interlinked e.g. NDIS and employment, the data above indicates that the bulk of the 2017 budget allocation is directed towards the Federal Government’s income management strategy in the form of work-for-the-dole and the Community Development Program (CDP). Of the total budget allocation of $653.8 million, $269.5 million (41%) is going towards income management and work-for-the-dole.
Critical factors are neglected
The allocations for health, land-care and education are the lowest categories in this year’s Federal Budget. Most striking is the 1% allocation for education ($5.9million) and the 3% allocation for health ($19.2 million) from within the ATSI budget allocations. Education and health, along with employment opportunities (9%), are probably the most critical contributory factors in closing the gap of disadvantage, and yet they receive very little attention in this year’s budget.
The 2017 Budget does little to address the complexity of the social and economic challenges faced by communities. This Budget is premised on the notion that controlling people’s income is a key solution to addressing these complex problems. Years of different iterations of the income management strategy have shown that this is not an effective approach to addressing poverty and inequality.
For more information on the data, please see the following links to Minister Nigel Scullion’s media website and to the 2017 Budget papers:
- Overview: https://ministers.dpmc.gov.au/scullion/2017/coalition-delivering-first-australians
- Research fund: https://ministers.dpmc.gov.au/scullion/2017/coalition-government-support-indigenous-jobs-and-business-sector
- Income management: http://budget.gov.au/2017-18/content/glossies/overview/html/overview-21.htm