The future of National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples in doubt

Future of National Congress of Australia’s First People’s remains in doubt

In 2014 the Abbott Government cut all existing operational funding for the peak representative body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples. $15 million of funding over three years was cut from the body which represents around 9000 Aboriginal organisations and individuals.

The Federal Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Nigel Scullion copped significant backlash following the cuts and after stating he believes the organisation is not adequately representing Australia’s first peoples.

Despite the backlash and ongoing discussions between National Congress and the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs as well as the Prime Minister no funding has been provided towards keeping the organisation running. This decision begs the question of how the Government aims to work with and include Aboriginal people to improve outcomes, without knowing the concerns and areas of interest of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Business support for indigenous entrepreneurs – extension

All existing funding from Indigenous Business Australia, 23 million a year for four years will be redirected to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. There will be an increase of 13.7 million each year for four years with an additional 54.8 million being allocated over four years which comes to a total 146.8 million over four years.

The funding will help ensure the delivery of innovative and effect support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Businesses through workshops, business planning and training. As well as providing capital assistance for Indigenous entrepreneurs to establish and grow their business.

Regional Australia new initiatives

Australia remains the only first world country still experiencing trachoma, a preventable eye disease which can lead to blindness.

In a move to further combat trachoma in Aboriginal communities the Australian Government is providing $20.8 million to States and Territories from 2017-18 to 2020-21.

The funding is going to be split amongst states and territories, in the first year; 0.3 million will be provided to NSW, QLD will get 0.1 million, WA will receive 1.4 million, SA will get 1 million and the NT will receive the most in the first year getting 1.6 million.

Community Development Program (work for the dole) changes

Governments community development programme (CDP) aims to provide job seekers with meaningful daily activities as pathways to employment. The Government will be undertaking consultation with communities on a new employment and participation model for remote Australia building on CDP.

$11 million will be provided to implement a CDP youth engagement strategy working in collaboration with local schools, includes employment of youth workers to transition young people into training and employment.

The funding comes despite the CDP receiving backlash from community members, who have incurred penalties for not participating for cultural and health reasons.


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