What’s in the 2017 Federal Budget for First Australians?

Posted on 18 May 2017 under Funding, Tracking & Uncategorized.
The 2017 Federal Budget was handed down on 9th May. The budget includes a number of measures that affect First Australians.

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:


Work-for-the-dole, Income Management, Community Development Program (CDP)
  • $145.5 million to extend income management in all current locations, including many Indigenous communities.
  • $113 million expansion of the ParentsNext initiative will increase the participation of Indigenous parents in the workforce in 30 locations.
  •  $11 million to develop and implement a Community Development Programme youth engagement strategy in collaboration with remote schools.
    $269.5 million
  • $146.9 million for business support for Indigenous entrepreneurs including tailored loans and capital assistance.
    $146.9 million
Employment (including Jobseekers and Prison to Work)
  • $55.7 million for Closing the Gap in Indigenous employment including working with Indigenous communities to better support Indigenous jobseekers including:

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.

    $55.7 million
  • $39 million for Community Legal Centres to support victims of domestic violence.
  • $16.7 million for Indigenous Legal Assistance Providers to assist in addressing Indigenous incarceration rates.
    $55.7 million
Internal departmental research and evaluation
  • $52.9 million to enhance research and evaluation in Indigenous Affairs, including the establishment of an Indigenous Research Fund.
    $52.9 million 
  • 3 million through the Boosting the Local Care Workforce initiative to support more regional workers, including Indigenous Australians, to meet the demand of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and an ageing population.
    $33 million 
  • $0.4 million for the supply of medicines through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme to clients of Remote Area Aboriginal Health Services.
  • $18.8 million to continue the Rheumatic Fever Strategy including expansion to at risk communities.
    $19.2 million
  • $15 million for new Indigenous Protected Areas in addition to those already declared or under consultation under the National Landcare Program.
    $15 million
  • $5.9 million to Closing the Gap on literacy achievement, trialling the use of digital applications to improve outcomes for Indigenous children in 20 preschools nationally.
    $5.9 million 
TOTAL     $653.8 million

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.

budget piechart


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:


The Paper Tracker works hard to provide accurate and up-to-date information. We will correct any inaccurate information as soon as it is brought to our attention. Please contact us if you have additional information or can provide us with an update.