Commonwealth Indigenous-specific expenditure 1968–2012

28 September 2012

PDF version [1706KB]

Dr John Gardiner-Garden, Social Policy Section
Joanne Simon-Davies, Statistics and Mapping Section

Contents

Executive summary

Introduction

Historical overview

The 2012–13 Budget

Two recent Indigenous Expenditure Reports

Strategic Review of Indigenous Expenditure

2012 Indigenous Expenditure Report

The trend in expenditure

Per capita expenditure

Detailed expenditure tables and data sources

The Tables

Compilations of Commonwealth Indigenous-specific expenditure data

Indigenous population data

GDP and Implicit Price Deflator data

Total Commonwealth expenditure data

Appendix 1: Key findings of the 2010 Strategic Review of Indigenous Expenditure

Appendix 2: Key points from 2012 Indigenous Expenditure Report

Executive summary

This paper attempts to plot, by agency and year, identifiable Commonwealth expenditure in the area of Indigenous affairs over the 44 years from 1968 to 2012.

The paper attempts to plot trends in the above expenditure—expressed in both the nominal and real terms, expressed as a percentage of total Commonwealth outlays and Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and expressed in per-capita terms. In nominal and real terms, identifiable Commonwealth Indigenous-specific expenditure has trended up, but dipped in the last few years. As a percentage of total outlays or Gross Domestic Product it plateaued from about 2000 to 2007 and has since fallen. The per capita trend is found to be too problematic to characterise simply.

The paper also overviews recent relevant policy developments, Budget commitments and expenditure reports and notes the factors limiting the implications that can be drawn from the data presented.

Introduction

This paper updates one written by the same authors and published as an online Parliamentary Library Research Paper in September 2010.

It presents graphs, tables and commentary on the subject of identifiable Commonwealth expenditure in the area of Indigenous Affairs. By this the authors mean expenditure in any portfolio through programs or program components specifically intended to address Indigenous issues or needs—that is, identifiable Indigenous-specific expenditure. For recent years the authors have used the Australian Government Indigenous Expenditure (AGIE) figures presented in annual Portfolio Budget Statements. It should be noted that these figures represent expenditure by a narrower definition than that used in the two recent expenditure studies discussed later in this paper. Like the figures in those two other reports, the utility of these figures for policy purposes is limited by the fact that the authors have no way of splitting figures into service provision and administration components, and no way of directly linking these expenditure figures to particular policy thrusts (such as National Partnerships, Closing the Gap or Stronger Futures), to particular regions or to particular outcomes.

In the pdf version of this paper, the tables referred to are appended at the end of the document.

In the html version of this paper, links to tables will open the relevant table in an Excel spreadsheet. All of the tables and charts referred to are in this one spreadsheet and they can be accessed via the tabs along the bottom of the screen in Excel. There is no need, therefore, to return to the text to access another table.

Historical overview

Identifiable Commonwealth expenditure in the area of Indigenous affairs began with the establishment of the Office of Aboriginal Affairs soon after the landmark referendum in 1967.[1] The expenditure was relatively low in the first few years but increased significantly with the creation of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs soon after the Whitlam Government came to office in December 1972, and continued to grow through the 1980s.

In 1990 the Department of Aboriginal Affairs was replaced by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) and, except for a slight dip in 1993–94, identifiable Indigenous expenditure continued to rise throughout the 1990s. ATSIC expenditure as a proportion of total Indigenous expenditure started, however, to fall in the mid–1990s. This was a result of areas such as health and land acquisition being shifted out of ATSIC and some areas that remained within ATSIC receiving a funding cut following the 1996 Budget.

Although overall expenditure continued to rise from the late 1990s onward, it is difficult to compare earlier figures with those from later years because in 1998 there was a move from cash to accrual accounting and from 2000–01 the annual Ministerial Budget-time statements on Identifiable Commonwealth Expenditure on Indigenous Affairs used different categories for reporting expenditure. Tracking expenditure becomes even more complicated from 2002, as the successive administrative rearrangements associated with the gradual demise of ATSIC led to the staged transfer of its funding and responsibilities to a range of other agencies.  

In 2005–06 the Commonwealth introduced the reporting in the Portfolio Budget Statements of Australian Government Indigenous Expenditure (AGIE) figures and it is these that are used in this paper to plot expenditure over the years that followed.

In 2007, the last year of the Howard government, commitments made under the Northern Territory Emergency Response (the NTER or ‘the Intervention’) increased Commonwealth Indigenous expenditure, especially that directed to the Northern Territory. Though many of the NTER measures were controversial, the Howard Government’s overall legislative package and budget commitment received bi-partisan support.

The Rudd government changed the policy rhetoric to ‘closing the gap’, ‘Indigenous Reform agenda’ and ‘National Partnerships’. It also set benchmarks, goals and funding commitments inside a Council of Australian Governments (COAG) framework, and amended some procedures and legislation so that Commonwealth actions could withstand the reinstatement of all the provisions of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975. Though the rhetorical, administrative and legal context was very different from that surrounding the Howard Government budgets, the Rudd Government’s budgets of 2008, 2009 and 2010 generally supported the Intervention-initiated budget emphasis on funding programs intended to address the perceived needs of remote communities.

The Gillard government’s policy has been a continuation of the Rudd government’s policy. The process of establishing a National Congress of Australia's First Peoples  was completed and the prospect of recognising Australia’s Indigenous people in the Constitution was advanced by the appointment in December 2010 of an Expert Panel, who undertook wide public consultations and presented their report, Recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in the Constitution, in January 2012.[2] Language in one area of policy did, however, change. Since 2011 there has been a determination to move still further away from speaking of an ‘Intervention’. Thus the Government distributed a Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory discussion paper in June 2011, produced a report on the consultations (and another on methodology) in October 2011, and  introduced three bills into the House in November 2011: Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory Bill 2011 and its associated Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2011 and Social Security Legislation Amendment Bill 2011. For more on these bills see the Parliamentary Library’s Stronger Futures bills digest[3] 
http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/BudgetReview201213/
IndigenousAffairs#_ftn4

The 2012–13 Budget

The change in language gave rise to a change in some budget arrangements. Thus, the 2012–13 Federal budget reflected ongoing commitments through National Partnerships on Remote Indigenous Housing, Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health Outcomes, Indigenous Early Childhood Development and Indigenous Economic Participation, but added initiatives under the umbrella of a $3.4 billion over 10-year commitment to a new Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory National Partnership[4]. This did not, however, represent an increase in the Government’s overall commitment to Indigenous Affairs. Most of this expenditure was either to continue funding for Northern Territory Intervention programs, which was to end in the middle of 2012, or was money redirected from other programs.

The 2012 Budget’s Stronger Futures package included:

  • $254.4 million over four years ($713.5 million over 10 years) for better primary health care, and better access to allied health services[5]
  • $239.6 million over four years ($619.3 million over 10 years) to improve the safety of communities (for example, policing)[6]
  • an as yet not-for-publication sum to be provided over 10 years to support measures to tackle alcohol abuse in communities[7]
  • $187.3 million over four years ($411.8 million over 10 years) to continue to improve school outcomes for Aboriginal children[8]
  • $141.6 million over four years ($326.3 million over 10 years) to support the well-being of Aboriginal children, youth and their families and continue eight programs under the Alice Springs Transformation Plan[9]
  • $149.2 million over four years ($413.4 million over 10 years) to increase the number of Indigenous Engagement Officers, ensure local services are effective, support governance and leadership and local planning, and continue to support interpreting services[10]
  • $54.2 million over four years to improve remote Indigenous housing, including removing asbestos from houses and community buildings[11] and
  • $67.8 million over four years ($206.4 million over 10 years) to support the continuation of basic municipal and essential services for up to 9000 Aboriginal people living in outstations and homelands.[12]

The Budget also included initiatives with more general relevance.[13]

With respect to remote jobs and the former community development employment projects (CDEP), the Budget features a commitment from 1 July 2013 of $1.5 billion for a new cross-portfolio Remote Jobs and Communities Program. As with the Stronger Futures commitment, this was not new money. Indeed, against prior relevant commitments in Budget forward estimates, the establishment of the new program was estimated to cost $9.3 million in 2012–13, but save $79.8 million in 2013–14, $92.1 million in 2014–15 and $41.5 million in 2015–16. The cost of the program to the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations would be more than offset by savings to the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, and to the Department of Human Services. The program included:

  • combining Job Services Australia, Disability Employment Services, and Community Development Employment Projects to create a new single assistance provider which will work with communities to develop Community Action Plans as well as with individual job-seekers (this element producing savings of $62.0 million over four years)
  • $137.5 million over three years to establish a Community Development Fund to support community development projects
  • $44.4 million over three years for a Remote Youth Development and Leadership Corps which will provide up to 3000 places by 2015–16 for young people aged under 25. The National Congress of Australia’s First People particularly welcomed this commitment  but noted that  there will be $22.8 million in savings from ending new enrolments in the Indigenous Youth Leadership Program[14] and
  • five more years of CDEP wages to approximately 4000 long-term CDEP participants (budget neutral over six years).

Budget initiatives relating to services and infrastructure included:

  • $43.4 million in 2012–13 for remote communities to continue the provision of municipal and essential services to 38 000 Aboriginal people in approximately 350 remote communities across Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania.[15] This measure was announced on 28 March 2012 and is intended to supplement the efforts of State and Territory Governments.[16]  With small homelands and outstations communities persisting and their need for better services being great, this  commitment was well received by most but criticised by some as too little, not involving sufficient Northern Territory Government contribution and not helping to clarify long-term responsibilities and expectations[17]  and
  • $21.2 million to deliver environmental health infrastructure in the Torres Strait region, including water projects, sewerage infrastructure, roads and serviced housing lots.[18]

There were two small initiatives in the area of Indigenous education:

  • $14.3 million over three years to attract and retain high-calibre teachers in remote areas, by expanding the Teach Remote program[19] and
  • $4.8 million over three years to expand (through the Clontarf Foundation) the Sporting Chance Program which helps promote school engagement amongst Indigenous boys, and to fund strategies to promote school engagement amongst Indigenous girls.[20]

These amounts were, however, more than offset by the redirection to Stronger Futures spending of savings of $56.3 million over four years ($152.9 million over 10 years) by ceasing the Closing the Gap—Intensive Literacy and Numeracy Programs for Underachieving Indigenous Students.[21]

With respect to health and aged care, Budget initiatives include:

  • $43.1 million over five years to deliver an extra 200 aged care places for older Indigenous people who have high care needs so that they can stay close to home in culturally appropriate care[22] and
  • $475.0 million over six years for new and extended regional and remote health care facilities, including $48.6 million for 10 projects in regional and remote Indigenous communities which will deliver improved health care services.[23]

Other initiatives included:

  • $63.0 million over four years for the Special Broadcasting Service Corporation to establish a free-to-air national Indigenous television channel[24]
  • $55.7 million over four years for the Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters to better prepare children for school through a home-based parenting and early childhood program in 100 sites across Australia. Fifty of these will be targeted towards communities with a high proportion of disadvantaged Indigenous Australians.[25]
  • $11.8 million to extend the Cape York Welfare Reform Trial until 31 December 2013[26] and
  • $10.0 million to support activities to build community understanding and support for constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians—with the cost being met from within the existing resources of  the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.[27]

Two recent Indigenous Expenditure Reports

Strategic Review of Indigenous Expenditure

In February 2010 the Australian Government’s Department of Finance and Deregulation completed its Strategic Review of Indigenous Expenditure , but the report was only made public in a freedom of information release in 2011.[28] The report estimated Indigenous specific program and Indigenous specific mainstream expenditure for the financial year 2009-10 and tabulated these figures in its ‘Attachment D: Indigenous Programs Classified by Portfolio’. The portfolio totals and grand total of expenditure are of the same order of magnitude as the totals offered in this publication, but are not based on the Portfolio Budget Statement AGIEs, the basis for this publication. The authors of the Strategic Review opted to survey Federal departments directly, to invite estimates not just of Indigenous specific expenditures but also of share of expenditures under programs that are not Indigenous specific, and to not report Indigenous expenditures only at Outcome levels (as is often the case in the Portfolio Budget Statements’ AGIE reporting) but against all the programs that contribute towards achieving those Outcomes, and where appropriate against the lower level programs that operate within many of the formal Programs.

The Review had hoped through their survey of departments to also be able to estimate the ratio of departmental to administered expenses for grant programmes, but the fact that most large agencies did not provide this information meant no conclusions could be drawn about these ratios.

The Review did not look at historical trends (referring readers instead in footnote 35 on page 54 to an early form of this publication).[29]   

For further discussion of the methodology behind the report’s expenditure estimates and why they vary from the PBS AGIEs which form the basis of this publication’s estimates, see the discussion on pages 54 to 57 of the Report. For snapshots of expenditure for 2009-10 by function and for key points from the Review see Appendix 1.

2012 Indigenous Expenditure Report

The second recent expenditure report of relevance is that released on 4 September 2012 by the Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision (SCRGSP), which has its secretariat in the Productivity Commission.[30] In their 2012 Indigenous Expenditure Report[31], the SCRGSP attempted to estimate inputs into Indigenous service delivery and in doing so the report is intended to complement the long running Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage reports which examine outcomes in this same area (with the latest of the latter being Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage: Key Indicators 2011 and including sections on COAG targets and headline indicators and Strategic areas for action). [32]  Released at the same time as the full expenditure report has been a series of all-state and state-by-state factsheets, a series of web expenditure tables and the 2012 Indigenous Expenditure Report Overview.[33]

In this 2012 Report the SCRGSP attempted, as they had in their first report in this series in 2010[34],  to go beyond just Commonwealth expenditure and to estimate expenditure by all levels of government, and to go beyond easily identifiable Indigenous specific expenditures and estimate also share of expenditures under programs that are not Indigenous specific. At the Commonwealth level, that meant going beyond the Portfolio Budget Statement’s Australian Government Indigenous Expenditure figures (just as the above discussed Finance Department’s Strategic Review had attempted). The total expenditure figures presented in this report are, therefore, of an entirely different magnitude to those presented in this Background Note.

For more on the report’s key findings see Appendix 2.

The report’s release was announced by some newspapers  under headlines highlighting the apparent expenditure discrepancies  (see for example The Australian’s Aboriginal split: 5.6pc of funds, 2.6pc of population’ ) and with some writers noting that expenditure has risen well in excess of inflation since the 2010 Overview (see for example David Crowe in The Australian’s  Indigenous spending topping $25bn The question is: has the two-year surge benefited the 575,000 people?’).[35] The Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin and Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury have in their media release, emphasised the reasons for the level of expenditure (‘ The estimated government expenditure on Indigenous Australians reflects a greater use of government services because of higher level of need and disadvantage, as well as the additional cost of providing services in remote areas with significant Indigenous populations’), and observed that  ‘Since 2008 governments have committed unprecedented investments to help close the gap in Indigenous Affairs’.[36]

It needs to be noted that definitions of various Portfolio Budget Statement (PBS) outcomes can change without it being noted in the PBS and thus without it being noted in the detailed expenditure tables that follow, so care needs to be taken if wanting to compare individual intra-agency outcomes across years.

The trend in expenditure

Converting nominal expenditure to real terms[37] shows a rising trend over the period, which means that increases in expenditure have been more than increases in inflation (see Table 1 and Chart 1). In real terms, identifiable Commonwealth expenditure in the area of Indigenous affairs saw a dramatic rise in the early 1970s and a dramatic fall in the late 1970s. Expenditure returned to mid 1970s levels by the mid 1980s. From the mid 1980s  to the 2007-08 there was an almost uninterrupted rise in real expenditure—the interruptions being small and quickly recovered declines in the mid 1990s and 2005–06. From 2007-8 to 2009-10 both real and nominal expenditure fell. Both rose again in 2010-11.

Chart 1: Nominal and real (2008-09 dollars) identifiable Commonwealth Indigenous specific expenditure 1968-69 to 2010-11 

The trend can look a little different when this expenditure is plotted against total government expenditure and Gross Domestic Product (GDP), as shown in Chart 2.

When expressed as a percentage of total Commonwealth expenditure, identifiable Indigenous expenditure shows the same sharp increase and fall in the mid 1970s, followed by almost continuous growth to 1992–93 (see Table 1 and Chart 2). The mid to late 1990s saw fluctuations with the percentage rising and falling year to year but still trending upwards. From 2000–01 onwards, however, the percentage of total Commonwealth expenditure allocated to Indigenous affairs has trended down. This appears more pronounced in the years 2008–09 and 2009–10 as stimulus expenditure associated with the Government’s response to the global financial crisis (GFC), increased overall expenditure without adding to Indigenous-specific expenditure.

When plotted as a percentage of GDP, Commonwealth Indigenous-specific expenditure shows a pattern broadly similar to when it is plotted as a percentage of total Commonwealth expenditure. Growth is fairly constant up until the early 1990s with a very clear stabilisation at around one third of one percentage point over the next decade. There is then a fall in 2008-09 to 2009-10 followed by a rise in 2010-11. Therefore, relative to growth in the economy as a whole, as measured by GDP, growth in Indigenous-specific expenditure has been minimal and not sustained since the early 1990s (see Table 1 and Chart 2).

Chart 2: Identifiable Commonwealth Indigenous specific expenditure as a percentage of total Commonwealth expenditure, and GDP, 1968-69 to 2010-11 

Some commentators have also considered identifiable Indigenous expenditure in the light of the total government revenue. They have drawn attention to the fact that the plateauing of Indigenous expenditure relative to total expenditure and GDP from the late 1990s up to the GFC of 2008, happened in a period when the federal government had been generally presenting surplus budgets, so could theoretically (leaving all fiscal considerations and competing needs aside) have increased Indigenous expenditure.[38] In the years 2008–09 and 2009–10, however, Commonwealth revenues declined as a result of the GFC and deficit budgets were recorded.

Per capita expenditure

Five–yearly census data covers the whole of the period of Aboriginal affairs expenditure. Census counts, however, are not considered a reliable indicator of the true size of the Indigenous population over this period. The data show periods of low and high population growth which cannot be accounted for by births and deaths only and which may be due in part to variations in the propensity to identify as Indigenous. As such, the per capita expenditure figures which are derived from these data and presented in Table 1 and Chart 3 should be used with caution. It is strongly advised that these figures not be used for an analysis of trends over the period.

It needs also to be noted that no comparison of Indigenous specific and total per capita expenditure can be meaningful without factoring in geography, because costs are generally lower per capita for the urban indigenous population and greatly increase it for the rural and remote one.[39]

Chart 3: Real identifiable Commonwealth Indigenous specific expenditure per capita 1971-72 to 2010-11 

Further complicating the task of estimating per capita expenditure is the fact that much of Indigenous-specific expenditure has not been simply ‘on top of’ that which Indigenous Australians might benefit from by being Australians. A large proportion of it has substituted for expenditure that would normally be provided via mainstream assistance programs (for example, Community Development Employment Projects for Newstart, Community Housing for housing under the Commonwealth-State Housing agreement, Aboriginal Legal Aid for general legal aid, Aboriginal Medical Services for Medicare supported services). A further amount has been for services which are generally the responsibility of other levels of government (for example, state or local). At the same time, Indigenous Australians have often utilised mainstream services and benefits at a lower rate than other Australians (for example, Pharmaceutical Benefits and Aged Care). [40]

To produce meaningful per capita expenditure figures, detailed studies of single-portfolio areas need to be conducted. An example of such a study is J Deeble et.al.’s Expenditures on health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples 2004–05[41] and a more recent and more comprehensive study is the Productivity Commissions 2012 Indigenous Expenditure Report discussed at greater length in a previous section  of this paper.

Detailed expenditure tables and data sources

The tables listed below provide the most detailed identifiable Indigenous Specific Commonwealth expenditure data available. The data are drawn from various sources, but most notably those listed further below.

The Tables

Table 1: Identifiable Commonwealth Expenditure on Indigenous Affairs, 1968–69 to 2009–10

Table 2: Identifiable Commonwealth Expenditure on Indigenous Affairs, 1968–69 to 1989–90 ($ millions—cash basis)

Table 3: Identifiable Commonwealth Expenditure on Indigenous Affairs, 1990–91 to 1999–2000 ($ millions – cash then accrual basis)

Table 4: Identifiable Commonwealth Expenditure on Indigenous Affairs, 2000–01 to 2004–05 ($)

Table 5: Australian Government Indigenous Expenditure (AGIE) – Portfolio level, 2005–06 to 2007–08 ($’000)

Table 6: Australian Government Indigenous Expenditure (AGIE) – Portfolio level 2007–08 to 2010–11 ($’000)

Compilations of Commonwealth Indigenous-specific expenditure data

Expenditure data for the late 1960s to the late 1980s can be found in Appendix 15 of the Aboriginal Affairs Department, 1988–89 Annual Report, and in JC Altman and W Sanders, From exclusion to dependence: Aborigines and the welfare state in Australia, Discussion Paper No. 1/1991, Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, Australian National University, Canberra.

In 1991 and 1992 expenditure tables were included in the Budget Related Paper No.7, Social Justice For Indigenous Australians, circulated by the then Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Robert Tickner.

From 1993 and 1995 expenditure tables were included in an annual, but no longer officially Budget related, Social Justice For Indigenous Australians, circulated by the then Minister Robert Tickner.

There was no equivalent compilation released in 1996 or 1997, but in 1998, the then Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs Senator Herron released Commonwealth Programs For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 1995–1996, and Addressing Priorities in Indigenous Affairs an expenditure compilation that also included actual expenditures for 1995–96 and 96–97 and estimates for 97–98 and 98–99.

From 1999 to 2002 the Government released expenditure compilations at budget time in the form of a series of Ministerial statements:

  • A Better Future for Indigenous Australians, Statement by Senator the Honourable John Herron, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, 11 May 1999.
  • The Future Together, Indigenous-Specific Measures in the 2000–01 Budget, Statement by Senator the Honourable John Herron, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, 9 May 2000.
  • Our Path Together, Statement by the Honourable Philip Ruddock MP, Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, 22 May 2001, viewed 23 September 2008, http://www.budget.gov.au/2001-02/minst/html/atsic-13.htm#P297_65117,
  • Indigenous Affairs 2002–03, Statement by the Honourable Philip Ruddock MP, Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Reconciliation, 14 May 2002.

In 2003 the then Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Senator Amanda Vanstone, simply included Indigenous-specific expenditure in a Budget time press release kit. Her 2003 release only included overall expenditure, but the 2004 and 2005 releases included more of the detail of the kind that had been in earlier Ministerial statements.

From 2006 there has been no single cross-portfolio compilation of Indigenous-specific Commonwealth expenditures. Instead portfolio specific summaries of ‘Australian Government Indigenous Expenditure’ (AGIE) have been included in nearly all the annual Portfolio Budget Statements.

Indigenous population data

Historical: ABS, Australian Historical Population Statistics, 2008 (Cat no. 3105.0.65.001), at http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/allprimarymainfeatures/632CDC28637CF57ECA256F1F0080EBCC?opendocument

2011: ABS, Census of Population and Housing 2011, Quickstats – Australia, at http://www.censusdata.abs.gov.au/census_services/getproduct/census/2011/quickstat/0

GDP and Implicit Price Deflator data

ABS, National Income, Expenditure and Product, June 2012, Table 5 (Cat. no. 5206.0), at http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/allprimarymainfeatures/52AFA5FD696482CACA25768D0021E2C7?opendocument

Total Commonwealth expenditure data

Australian Government, Budget Paper No. 1, 1999–2000, 2009–10 and 2010-11 editions, at http://www.budget.gov.au/past_budgets.htm

Australian Government, Budget Paper No. 1, 2012-13 at http://www.budget.gov.au/2012-13/content/bp1/html/index.htm , and

the 2012–13 edition’s Appendix I: Historical budget and net financial worth data at http://www.budget.gov.au/2012-13/content/bp1/html/bp1_bst10-04.htm

Table 1: Identifiable Commonwealth Expenditure on Indigenous Affairs, 1968–69 to 2009–10

Table 2: Identifiable Commonwealth Expenditure on Indigenous Affairs 1968–69 to 1989–90 

Table 3: Identifiable Commonwealth Expenditure on Indigenous Affairs 1990–91 to 1999–2000

Table 4: Identifiable Commonwealth Expenditure on Indigenous Affairs 2000–01 to 2004–05

Table 5: Australian Government Indigenous Expenditure (AGIE - portfolio level 2005–06 to
2007–08
($’000)

Portfolio/Agency/Outcome

May 2006 PBS

May 2007 PBS

2005-06

2006-07

2006-07

2007-08

actual

budget

actual

budget

Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry Portfolio

 

 

 

 

Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

 

 

Outcome 1: More sustainable, competitive and profitable Australian agricultural, food, fisheries and forestry industries

  659

  931

  980

 1 064

Total Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry Portfolio

  659

  931

  980

 1 064

 

 

 

Attorney-General’s Portfolio

 

 

 

 

Attorney General’s Department

 

 

Outcome 1: An equitable and accessible system of federal civil justice

 82 043

 99 116

 88 920

 100 735

Australian Crime Commission

 

 

Outcome 1: Enhanced Australian law enforcement capacity

..

..

 5 038

 4 450

Australian Customs Service

 

 

Outcome 1: Effective border management that, with minimal disruption to legitimate trade and travel, prevents illegal movement across the border, raises revenue and provides trade statistics

  555

  555

 1 387

  617

Australian Federal Police

 

 

Outcome 1: The investigation and prevention of crime against the Commonwealth and protection of Commonwealth interests in Australia and overseas

  252

  301

  151

  675

Outcome 2: policing activity creates a safe and secure environment in the ACT

  145

  94

  94

  102

Total Australian Federal Police

  397

  395

  245

  777

Family Court of Australia

 

 

Outcome 1: Serving the interests of the Australian community by ensuring families and children in need can access effective high quality services

  560

  581

  516

  526

Federal Court of Australia

 

 

Outcome 1: Through its jurisdiction, the Court will apply and uphold the rule of law to deliver remedies and enforce rights and in so doing, contribute to the social and economic development and wellbeing of all Australians

 9 661

 9 769

 9 769

 9 870

Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission

 

 

Outcome 1: An Australian society in which the human rights of all are respected, protected and promoted

 1 006

  994

 1 080

 1 215

National Native Title tribunal

 

 

Outcome 1: Resolution of native title issues over land and waters

 32 227

 32 881

 32 881

 33 221

Total Attorney General’s Portfolio

 126 449

 144 291

 139 836

 151 411

 

 

 

Communications, Information Technology, and the Arts Portfolio

 

 

 

 

Department of Communications, Information Technology, and the Arts

 

 

Outcome 1:

 27 274

 28 483

 27 281

 27 938

Outcome 2:

 14 464

 14 816

 11 956

 12 451

Outcome 3:

 19 507

 41 675

 20 873

 45 764

Total Department of CITA

 61 245

 84 974

 60 110

 86 153

Australia Council

 

 

Outcome 1:

 5 600

 5 700

 4 369

 3 629

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

 

 

Outcome 1:

 2 601

 2 659

 2 560

 2 600

Australian Film Commission

 

 

Outcome 1:

 2 791

 2 555

 3 236

 3 646

Australian Film Television and Radio School

 

 

Outcome 1:

  117

  73

  119

  79

Australian National Maritime Museum

 

 

Outcome 1:

  90

  90

  33

  15

Australian Sports Commission

 

 

Outcome 1:

 1 500

 1 500

 1 500

 1 500

National Gallery of Australia

 

 

Outcome 1:

  530

  510

  491

  647

National Museum of Australia

 

 

Outcome 1:

  870

 1 002

 1 128

 1 532

Special Broadcasting Service

 

 

Outcome 1:

 3 961

 4 391

 1 665

 1 704

Total CITA Portfolio

 79 305

 103 454

 75 212

 101 505

Education Science and Technology Portfolio

 

 

 

 

Department of Education Science and Technology

 

 

Outcome 1: (Schools in 2006)

 473 192

 461 358

..

..

Outcome 2: (Post-school in 2006)

 110 027

 108 860

..

..

Outcome 3: (Research in 2006)

  535

  451

..

..

Total Department of Education Science and Technology

 583 754

 570 669

 587 983

 580 751

Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies

 13 227

 14 028

 14 201

 15 071

Australian Research Council

  402

  400

  590

  626

Total Employment, Science and Technology Portfolio

 597 383

 585 097

 602 774

 596 448

 

 

 

Employment and Workplace Relations Portfolio

 

 

 

 

Department of Employment and Workplace Relations

 

 

Outcome 1:

 107 530

 139 760

 100 128

 146 175

Outcome 3:

 562 433

 608 469

 556 545

 542 404

Total Department of Employment and Workplace Relations

 669 963

 748 229

 656 673

 688 579

Indigenous Business Australia

 

 

Outcome 1:

 40 925

 89 876

 238 309

 199 287

Total Employment and Workplace Relations Portfolio

 710 888

 838 105

 894 982

 887 866

 

 

 

Environment and Heritage Portfolio

 

 

 

 

Department of Environment and Heritage

 

 

Outcome 1:

 10 000

 10 688

 11 545

 18 885

Bureau of Meteorology

 

 

Outcome 1:

  27

  75

  76

  46

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

 

 

Outcome 1:

 1 479

 1 500

 1 456

 1 500

Total Environment and Heritage Portfolio

 11 506

 12 263

 13 077

 20 431

 

 

 

Families, Community Services and Indigenous Services Portfolio

 

 

 

 

Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Services

 

 

Outcome 1: (Indigenous services)

 439 544

 601 353

 753 373

 833 942

Outcome 2:

 4 095

 4 071

 4 906

 4 982

Outcome 3:

 36 809

 37 996

 36 970

 72 406

Outcome 4:

 122 995

 124 196

 129 162

 132 168

Total Department of FaCSIA

 603 443

 767 616

 924 411

1 043 498

Aboriginal Hostels Limited

 

 

Outcome 1:

 47 416

 44 570

 44 898

 61 686

Indigenous Land Corporation

 

 

Outcome 1:

 56 358

 40 517

 128 528

 21 176

Torres Strait Regional Authority

 

 

Outcome 1:

 55 549

 56 833

 58 498

 54 178

Total Families, Community Services and Indigenous Services Portfolio

 762 766

 909 536

1 156 335

1 180 538

Finance and Administration Portfolio

 

 

 

 

Finance

 

 

Outcome 1:

 4 819

 4 996

 5 084

 5 161

Australian Electoral Commission

 

 

Outcome 1: (Electoral roll)

  136

  145

  287

  259

Outcome 2:

 

  104

  104

Outcome 3: (Education)

  26

  27

  118

  118

Total Australian Electoral Commission.

  162

  172

  509

  481

Total Finance and Administration Portfolio

 4 981

 5 168

 5 593

 5 642

 

 

 

 

 

Foreign Affairs and Trade Portfolio

 

 

 

 

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

 

 

Outcome 1:

  42

  39

  151

  177

Outcome 3:

  169

  169

  170

  168

Total Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

  211

  208

  321

  345

Australian Trade Commission

  84

  86

  94

  107

Total Foreign Affairs and Trade Portfolio

  295

  294

  415

  452

 

 

 

Health and Ageing Portfolio

 

 

 

 

Department of Health and Ageing

 

 

Outcome 1: Population Health

 8 225

 8 240

 16 044

 14 647

Outcome 2: Access to Pharmaceutical Services

 24 842

 28 074

 28 074

 31 306

Outcome 3: Access to Medical Services

 21 554

 23 445

 26 274

 31 923

Outcome 4: Aged Care and Population Ageing

 17 391

 17 884

 19 436

 21 502

Outcome 5: Primary Care

  746

  471

  465

 

Outcome 6: Rural Health

 5 782

 8 070

 9 700

 9 802

Outcome 7: Hearing Services

 4 109

 4 609

 4 609

 4 758

Outcome 8: Indigenous Health

 387 720

 425 523

 435 872

 504 270

Outcome 10: Health System Capacity and Quality

 1 008

  808

  20

  20

Outcome 11: Mental Health

 1 189

 1 320

 1 320

  700

Outcome 14: Health and Medical Research

 18 315

 17 276

-

-

Outcome 15 in 2006 Outcome 14 in 2007: Biosecurity and Emergency Response

  616

  320

  842

  611

Total Health and Ageing Portfolio

 491 497

 536 040

 542 657

 619 538

 

 

 

Human Services Portfolio

 

 

 

 

Centrelink

 

 

Outcome 1:

 56 677

 57 232

 63 387

 62 333

Medicare Australia

 

 

Outcome 1:

 3 372

 1 552

 1 551

 1 592

Department of Human Services

 

 

Outcome 1:

..

..

..

  454

Total Human Services Portfolio

 60 049

 58 784

 64 938

 64 379

 

 

 

Immigration and Multicultural Affairs Portfolio

 

 

 

 

Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs

 

 

Outcome 3: (Innovative whole of government policy on Indigenous Affairs)

 160 698

 to FaCS

..

..

Total Immigration and Multicultural Affairs Portfolio

 160 698

 to FaCS

..

..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Industry Tourism and Resources Portfolio

 

 

 

 

Department of Industry Tourism and Resources

Outcome 1:

 

 

Business Ready Program for Indigenous Tourism

 1 010

 1 395

 1 300

 1 138

Indigenous Communities/Mining Industry Working in Partnership Program

  427

  500

  500

  470

Indigenous graduate recruitment, traineeships and cadetships

  63

  107

  36

  52

Total outcome 1

 1 500

 2 002

 1 836

 1 660

Outcome 2: Indigenous graduate recruitment, traineeships and cadetships

  16

  26

 

Total Department of Industry Tourism and Resources

 1 516

 2 028

 1 836

 1 660

Tourism Australia

 

 

Outcome 1

..

..

..

..

Tourism Niche Market Development (Indigenous Program Delivery)

300

300

..

..

Total Industry Tourism and Resources Portfolio

 1 816

 2 328

 3 672

 3 320

 

 

 

Prime Minister and Cabinet Portfolio

 

 

 

 

Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet

 

 

Outcome 1:

702

715

926

736

Australian Public Service Commission

 

 

Outcome 1:

 2 871

 4 338

 4 290

 4 663

Total PM&C Portfolio

 3 573

 5 053

 5 216

 5 399

 

 

 

Transport and Regional Services Portfolio

 

 

 

 

Department of Transport and Regional Services

 

 

Outcome 2: Assisting regions to develop their own futures

 1 880

 1 923

 1 501

 1 182

Total Transport and Regional Services Portfolio

 1 880

 1 923

 1 501

 1 182

 

 

 

Treasury Portfolio

 

 

 

 

Australian Taxation Office

 1 937

 1 752

 1 953

 1 959

Productivity Commission

  578

  590

  724

  729

Total Treasury Portfolio

 2 515

 2 342

 2 677

 2 688

Total Australian Government Indigenous Expenditure

3 016 260

3 205 609

3 509 865

3 641 863

Note: These figures are drawn from the Australian Government Indigenous Expenditure (AGIE) tables within the 2006 and 2007 Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS).  Names for outcomes are only included when they are used in the AGIE tables. On the few occasions when some paraphrasing of an outcome seems appropriate, these have been included in brackets.

It should also be noted that although the 2006-07 PBS for the Defence Portfolio (p.44) notes the existence of several indigenous programs funded from within the defence budget (to do with recruitment, army community assistance, cadets and Indigenous liaison officers) it did not include an AGIE table or separate figures for these - so no figures have been included in this table nor in the total of AGIE.

Table 6: Australian Government Indigenous Expenditure (AGIE) - portfolio level 2007–08 to 2010–11

Appendix 1: Key findings of the 2010 Strategic Review of Indigenous Expenditure

The 2010 Strategic Review of Indigenous Expenditure[42] (released 2011 and discussed on page 7 of this paper) offered the following useful snapshots of expenditure for 2009-10 by function:

2009-10 Expenditure ($'000) by assigned functional category

Percentage of 2009-10 Expenditure ($;000) by assigned functional category

Programs by assigned functional category

Though the basis and scope of their data may be different from that offered in this publication, the Strategic Review’s Key findings may be relevant to our consideration of the data offered in this Background Note:

Policy needs to be supported by effective implementation.....

F.1 Despite the concerted efforts of successive Commonwealth, State and Territory governments to address Indigenous disadvantage, progress has been mixed at best: modest improvements in some areas have been offset by static or worsening outcomes elsewhere. Even in the few areas where clear improvements have been made, the outcomes for Indigenous Australians remain far short of those for non-Indigenous Australians. Past approaches to remedying Indigenous disadvantage have clearly failed, and new approaches are needed for the future.

F.2 The new policy framework developed by COAG (as reflected in the National Indigenous Reform Agreement and the Closing the Gap strategy) represents a comprehensive, coherent and ambitious agenda for reform. The key challenge from this point lies not so much in further policy development as in effective implementation and delivery. In the Indigenous area, more than any other, there has been a huge gap between policy intent and policy execution, with numerous examples of well-intentioned policies and programs which have failed to produce their intended results because of serious flaws in implementation and delivery.

F.3 The Commonwealth’s total expenditure on its Indigenous-specific programs amounts to some $3.5 billion annually. This major investment, maintained over many years, has yielded dismally poor returns to date. Even so, significant funding pressures are evident in a number of areas: Indigenous housing, remote infrastructure, community safety, Indigenous capability development, legal aid, Native Title reform and mobility assistance, amongst others.

F.4 Notwithstanding these current funding pressures, in many cases the need is not so much for higher levels of spending as to use existing resources (both Indigenous-specific and mainstream) far more effectively. Improvements in Indigenous schooling outcomes are a case in point.

.....and a sharper focus is needed on the performance of mainstream services

F.5 Achievement of the Closing the Gap targets and other Indigenous policy goals will depend critically on improvements in the quality of the mainstream services delivered to Indigenous Australians – particularly for Indigenous communities in urban and regional settings. ‘Supplementary programs’ may sometimes play a useful role, but should not be relied on to remedy serious deficiencies in mainstream services. A major role for the Commonwealth under the new COAG framework should be to ensure that mainstream service providers are held properly and fully to account, using the new array of instruments at its disposal (such as the wide range of National Partnership Agreements). Where mainstream programs and services fail to deliver their intended results the appropriate policy response should be to reform those mainstream services rather than to invent new funding programs.

There is considerable scope to rationalise the Commonwealth’s Indigenous programs

F.6 The current set of Indigenous-specific programs across the Commonwealth is unduly complex and confusing. There are too many programs sometimes with poorly articulated objectives and an excess of red tape. In some cases, program logic is weak, with little evidence of any real, testable strategy for change or methodology for reform. In other cases, underlying assumptions are flawed or unrealistic, especially in

F.7 Robust evidence is lacking on the performance and effectiveness of many Indigenous programs. Program evaluation activity in this area has been patchy at best, and many of the evaluations which have been conducted have lacked a suitable measure of rigour and independence. More robust evaluation arrangements are needed for the future. Evaluation efforts should be concentrated on those key policy measures (such as the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) and Remote Service Delivery (RSD) strategies) and major programs in which significant resources are invested, and which have the potential to contribute materially to the achievement of the Closing the Gap targets. Data improvements are also needed, both for evaluation and reporting purposes: the lack of robust baseline data, for example, has been a key weakness in many evaluation studies.

F.8 There is a strong case to reduce the number of Indigenous-specific programs operating across the Commonwealth. A smaller number of programs, with more clearly defined objectives, would have benefits both in clarity and flexibility. For the future also there would be benefit in examining the performance of programs, and assessing priorities for future investment, across a number of broadly defined ‘functional groups’ (along the lines of those employed in this Review, based on the COAG Closing the Gap Building Blocks).

F.9 The Review’s proposals for change to current program arrangements fall into three broad categories, although the latter two overlap:

  • the consolidation or broad-banding of closely related programs: the Review is proposing or endorsing the consolidation of some 51 currently separate Indigenous-specific programs into 18 continuing programs. Most often the continuing program is Indigenous specific but in a few cases it is a mainstream program. Savings are estimated at around $1.5 million per annum in a full year. Savings from refocussing ICC operations could be of the order of $3.5 million per annum in a full year;
  • the cessation or restructuring of programs: the Review has identified 25 instances in which there is a case to cease a program on the expiry of current funding commitments (or confirm cessation of a terminating program), or alternatively to restructure the program when evaluation results are available and circumstances permit (subject, in some cases, to negotiations with the States and Territories). Programs that could be considered in the 2010-11 Budget could save in the order of $6 million to $9 million per annum in the out-years. In the case of eight terminating programs the out year funding is in effect fully committed but decisions can confirm that they will then cease; and regard to the scale and timing of investment needed to drive lasting change. Too often, programs offer little more than temporary respite from the worst of the symptoms they are designed to treat, or are able to assist only a small proportion of those eligible.
  • the transfer of program responsibilities to the States and Territories: the Review has identified 15 programs which should be considered for transfer to the States and Territories on the grounds that the activities supported fall within their mainstream responsibilities, as defined by COAG. Transfers would usefully free up Commonwealth Departmental funds.

F.10 A more stringent approach is needed to the assessment of future proposals for the establishment of new Indigenous-specific funding programs. A key requirement should be to demonstrate why an existing program (whether mainstream or Indigenous) could not be used or adapted to meet the stated objectives of the proposal. There should also be a critical appraisal of the intended program logic: that is, the means by which the actions to be taken under the program can be expected to lead to changes consistent with the program’s objectives. As part of a revitalised Single Indigenous Budget Submission (SIBS) process, Finance should play a more active role in evaluating such proposals and identifying areas of possible savings and offsets.

Effective service delivery continues to be a major challenge.....

F.11 A clear message from the recent past is that policies and programs must be targeted to local needs, in close engagement and active partnership with the people they are designed to assist. From this viewpoint, strategic priorities in improving service delivery include:

  • enhancing the on-going professionalism and service capability of the Australian Public Service (APS);
  • increasing agency presence ‘on the ground’; and
  • giving priority to flexible joined-up-government solutions and services.

F.12 Key challenges to effective service delivery include:

  • equipping those delivering services (whether public servants, health professionals, teachers, contractors, or community advisers) with the skills, support services and infrastructure they need to engage effectively with the Indigenous people they are supporting (e.g., young people and families in troubled circumstances);
  • identifying a range of suitable governance and decision-making processes that effectively balance the variety of Indigenous governance styles with governments’ responsibilities for properly managing public funds. These governance approaches should be designed to empower Indigenous people and communities, including equipping them with relevant skills, so that they can progressively take meaningful control of their futures; and
  • tackling the multiple dimensions of Indigenous disadvantage: even with skilled intervention and stronger community leadership, social and economic disadvantage are often deep-seated and involve complex relationships that are difficult to address in any setting.

F.13 Notwithstanding efforts in recent years, whole-of-government coordination remains a major challenge. Program management and service delivery remains fragmented rather than coordinated, with weak linkages even within agencies, let alone across them. The multitude of separate disconnected programs runs contrary to the need for flexibility of service delivery, most obviously in remote locations, and creates a surfeit of unnecessary red tape. Communication between agencies is too often poor, even where their responsibilities and interests are closely related. Significant efficiencies could be gained by pooling expertise and coordinating efforts in areas where individual agencies are currently ‘doing their own thing’ (as in the planning and provision of staff housing in remote parts of the country, governance and leadership programs, and contracting).

An effective partnership with the States and Territories is essential.......

F.14 An effective partnership between the Commonwealth and the States will be critical to the implementation of the Indigenous reform agenda and to the achievement of the Closing the Gap targets. Within the framework of roles and responsibilities agreed by Council of Australian Governments (COAG), a major challenge remains to coordinate the efforts of the Commonwealth and the States in ways which promote seamless and effective service delivery ‘on the ground’. A package approach should be taken in negotiating a response with the States and Territories to relevant recommendations arising from this Review.

F.15 Like the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments administer a large number of Indigenous-specific funding programs which interact with, and in some cases duplicate, the Commonwealth’s programs. There is a case for these programs to be subject to a similar process of review, under COAG auspices, noting that this would be facilitated by the information to be provided in the new whole-of-government Indigenous Expenditure Report.

.....but this is also an area of high risk

F.16 There are real risks that the States and Territories will not deliver on key aspects of the agreed COAG agenda. The capacity of the Northern Territory Government is a particular concern, as evidenced by its performance to date in the housing and schooling domains. Similar, if lesser, concerns apply to other jurisdictions as well. To guide its strategic management of this risk the Commonwealth should develop a risk management plan which identifies key milestones and options for action in the event that the States fail to deliver on key commitments.

Priorities for investment

F.17 The Review identifies a number of areas for funding priority in the near term:

  • Some areas of significant funding pressure (such as infrastructure requirements and funding for negotiated settlements of Native Title claims) are expected to be addressed in Cabinet submissions over coming months.
  • Subject to decisions by Government, it is recommended that funds freed up as a result of this Review be directed to a range of measures – community safety/legal aid, capability development, mobility programs, professional development in the APS and increased evaluation effort.
  • A number of proposed measures that are subject to evaluation, or negotiation with the States and Territories, or are sensitive programs that could be reviewed in the light of changing circumstances, have the potential to free up additional resources that could also be reassigned to other priorities in the near term.

The need for a long-term view

F.18 The deep-seated and complex nature of Indigenous disadvantage calls for policies and programs which are patient and supportive of enduring change (including in the attitudes, expectations and behaviours of Indigenous people themselves). A long-term investment approach is needed, accompanied by a sustained process of continuous engagement. Broad budget allocations should be reviewed every few years to identify medium-term budget priorities that support a balanced approach to meeting the Government’s Indigenous policy goals. The proposed thematic and cross-program evaluations, such as that envisaged for the NTER, should serve to inform those judgements.

F.19 Consistent with the highly youthful age structure of the Indigenous population, the critical objective of improving the outcomes achieved by young Indigenous people, and particularly their education outcomes, can serve as a prism that can guide policy priorities and gauge the overall success of the COAG strategies. Unless Indigenous children secure a good start in life, including a strong base of skills through the schooling system, their prospects for a healthy and productive life will remain bleak and progress in addressing Indigenous disadvantage overall will continue to be painfully slow.

F.20 Some 25 per cent of Indigenous Australians live in locations classified as ‘remote’ or ‘very remote’, in many of which the multiple dimensions of Indigenous disadvantage are starkly evident. While the need for policy intervention in these communities is clear and compelling, a key consideration is the long-term economic viability and sustainability of a community. Consistent with the principles agreed by COAG, priority for infrastructure support and service provision in the future should be directed to larger and more economically sustainable communities where secure land tenure exists, with outreach services and other forms of access provided for the residents of smaller surrounding communities. At the same time, there should be support for voluntary mobility by individuals and families to areas where better education and job opportunities exist, or where there are higher standards of services.

F.21 A number of significant policy initiatives have recently been put in place and now need time to prove their efficacy. The RSD, in particular, represents a bold experiment in testing new approaches to community engagement and coordinated service delivery. Its emphasis on sustained engagement and long-term development is welcome and appropriate, as is its recognition of the need to target policies and programs to local needs. While the strategy offers considerable promise and potential, it is still at a very early stage of implementation, and no doubt many lessons will be learned as implementation proceeds. It would be prudent to evaluate the performance of the strategy within the 29 communities in which it is currently operating before considering any extension to a wider range of communities.

F22. With 75 per cent of Indigenous Australians now resident in urban and regional locations, the achievement of COAG’s Closing the Gap targets will not be possible unless significant gains can be made in these localities. Concerted efforts are needed to leverage both Indigenous-specific and mainstream funding, as agreed by COAG, to improve the outcomes achieved by Indigenous Australians in metropolitan areas and major regional centres.

.....as does co-ordination of effort across different Commonwealth agencies

Appendix 2: Key points from 2012 Indigenous Expenditure Report

The expenditure estimates of the 2012 Indigenous Expenditure Report[43] (discussed on pages 7 and 8 of this paper) are made up of 3 components.  The report tabulates and explains these components as follows:

Components of 2010-11 Indigenous expenditure estimates 

Australian Governments plus State and Territory Government direct expenditure per person by service area, Australia 2010-11

Australian Governments plus State and Territory Government direct expenditure per person by service area, Australia 2010-11

It is only the Commonwealth level expenditure in the category ‘Directly identified from Indigenous specific (targeted) programs’ which is the subject of this publication, and the report discusses at length some of the limitations of their broader estimates. The report also notes issues which limit the usefulness of comparisons between the expenditure figures they offer in their 2012 report (based on 2010-11 data)  and those they offered in their 2010 report (based on 2008-09 data). With these and other caveats, the report goes on to offering estimated Commonwealth, plus State and Territory expenditure per person (not necessarily the same as per user) for a range of service areas. Here are some of the main figures presented in the Report’s Overview:

Drawing on the estimates behind the above tables, the report summarises some ‘key points’ as follows:

• Total direct Indigenous expenditure in 2010-11 was estimated to be $25.4 billion, accounting for 5.6 per cent of total direct general government expenditure. Indigenous Australians make up 2.6 per cent of the population.

– The Australian Government accounted for $11.5 billion (45 per cent) of direct Indigenous expenditure, with the remaining $13.9 billion (55 per cent) provided by State and Territory governments.

– Mainstream services accounted for $19.9 billion (78 per cent) of direct Indigenous expenditure, with the remaining $5.5 billion (22 per cent) provided through Indigenous specific (targeted) services.

• Estimated expenditure per head of population was $44 128 for Indigenous Australians, compared with $19 589 for other Australians (a ratio of 2.25 to 1).

The report notes that the $24 538 per person difference reflected the combined effects of:

greater intensity of service use ($16 109 or 66 per cent) — Indigenous Australians use more services per capita because of greater need, and because of population characteristics such as the younger age profile of the Indigenous population

additional cost of providing services ($8429 or 34 per cent) — it can cost more to provide services to Indigenous Australians if mainstream services are more expensive to provide (for example, because of location), or if Indigenous Australians receive targeted services (for example, Indigenous liaison officers in hospitals) in addition to mainstream services.

The Report also includes a number of focus areas of expenditure and in the following areas the ratio of Indigenous to non-Indigenous expenditure per head of population was, to quote the Overview’s ‘Key point’:

school education — 2.99:1 ($5359 per Indigenous Australian compared with $1792 per non-Indigenous Australian), mainly reflecting higher per capita use of school services, driven by the younger age profile of the Indigenous population

public and community health services — 4.89:1 ($3152 per Indigenous Australian compared with $644 per non-Indigenous Australian), mainly reflecting higher per capita use of health services, driven by the poorer health status of Indigenous Australians

housing — 4.85:1 ($1708 per Indigenous Australian compared with $352 per non-Indigenous Australian), mainly reflecting higher per capita use of social housing by indigenous Australians, driven by socio-economic disadvantage.



[1].       See J Gardiner-Garden, The 1967 Referendum—history and myths, Research brief no. 11, 2006–07, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 2007.

[2].       Recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in the Constitution, Report of the Expert Panel, 2012, viewed 13 September 2012, http://www.youmeunity.org.au/uploads/assets/3446%20FaHCSIA%20ICR%20report_text_Bookmarked%20PDF%2012%20Jan%20v4.pdf

[3].       Dr J Gardiner-Garden and K Magarey, Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory Bill 2011, Parliamentary Library, Bills Digest No.103, 2011-12, 8 February 2011 viewed 13 September 2012, http://parlinfo/parlInfo/download/legislation/billsdgs/1405426/upload_binary/1405426.pdf;fileType=application/pdf#search=%22Stronger%20Futures%20in%20the%20Northern%20Territory%20Bill%202011%20Digest%22

[4].       J Gillard (Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Education, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations), J Macklin (Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs), N Roxon (Minister for Health and Ageing), R McClelland (Attorney General), Senator M Arbib (Minister for Employment Participation), P Garrett (Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts), and W Snowdon (Minister for Indigenous Health), Closing the Gap—Strengthening Indigenous Communities, media release, 11 May 2010, viewed 13 September 2012, http://www.health.gov.au/internet/ministers/publishing.nsf/Content/mr-yr10-nr-nr098.htm

[5].       Australian Government, Budget measures: budget paper no.2: 2012-13, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 2012, p. 205, viewed 13 September 2012, http://www.budget.gov.au/2012-13/content/bp2/html/index.htm

[6].       Ibid., p. 149.

[7].       Ibid., p. 152.

[8].       Ibid., p. 129.

[9].       Ibid., p. 148.

[10].      Ibid., p. 152.

[11].      Ibid., p. 150.

[12].      Ibid., p. 151.

[13].      J Macklin, Continuing our efforts to close the gap, op. cit., and J Macklin (Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs), S Conroy (Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy), P Garrett (Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth), W Snowdon (Minister for Indigenous Health), K Ellis (Minister for Early Childhood and Childcare), and J Collins (Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development), Investing to close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage, media release, 8 May 2012, viewed 15 September 2012, http://ministers.deewr.gov.au/macklin/budget-2012-13-investing-close-gap-indigenous-disadvantage

[14].      National Congress of Australia’s First People, Congress Statement on the Federal Budget 2012-13, media release, 9 May 2012, viewed 10 May 2012;Australian Government, op. cit., p. 131, viewed 13 September 2010, http://nationalcongress.com.au/congress-statmenton-the-federal-budget-2012-13/

[15].      Australian Government, op. cit., pp. 141–2.

[16].      J Macklin (Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs), W Snowdon (Minister for Indigenous Health), and T Crossin (Senator for the Northern Territory), Municipal and essential services for outstations and homelands in the Northern Territory, media release, 28 March 2012, viewed 13 September 2012, http://www.jennymacklin.fahcsia.gov.au/node/1815

[17].      J Altman, 'Homelands policy debacle set to continue for a decade', Crikey, 9 May 2012, viewed 13 September 2012, http://www.crikey.com.au/?p=289732

[18].      Australian Government, op. cit., pp. 154–155.

[19].      Ibid., p. 125.

[20].      Ibid., p. 109.

[21].      Ibid., p. 130.

[22].      Ibid., p. 186.

[23].      J Macklin (Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs), Continuing our efforts to close the gap, op. cit., p. 14.

[24].      Ibid., p. 96.

[25].      Ibid., pp. 112–113.

[26].      Ibid., p. 135.

[27].      Ibid., p. 135.

[28].      Department of Finance and Regulation, Strategic Review of Indigenous Expenditure, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, February 2010, viewed 13 September 2012, http://www.finance.gov.au/foi/disclosure-log/2011/docs/foi_10-27_strategic_review_indigenous_expenditure.pdf

[29].      J. Gardiner-Garden & M. Park, Commonwealth Indigenous-specific expenditure 1968-2008, Parliamentary Library Research Paper, Parliament of Australia 2008, http://www.aph.gov.au/Library/pubs/RP/2008-09/09rp10.pdf.

[30].      See the Productivity Commission web-page http://www.pc.gov.au/gsp/review/steering-committee, viewed 13 September 2012.

[31].      Productivity Commission, 2012 Indigenous Expenditure Report, 2012, viewed 13 September 2012, http://www.pc.gov.au/gsp/ier/indigenous-expenditure-2012 .

[32].      Productivity Commission, Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage web-page http://www.pc.gov.au/gsp/indigenous, viewed 13 September 2012.

[33].      See the Productivity Commission web-page http://www.pc.gov.au/gsp/review/steering-committee, viewed 13 September 2012.

[34].      See the Productivity Commission web-page http://www.pc.gov.au/gsp/ier/indigenous-expenditure-2010, viewed 13 September 2012.

[35].      D Crowe, ‘Aboriginal split: 5.6pc of funds, 2.6pc of population’ and ‘Indigenous spending topping $25bn The question is: has the two-year surge benefited the 575,000 people?’ Australian 4 September 2012, viewed 13 September 2012  http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/download/media/pressclp/1893228/upload_binary/1893228.pdf

[36].      J Macklin (Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs), ‘Second Indigenous Expenditure Report released’, media release,  4 September 2012, viewed 13 September 2012, http://www.jennymacklin.fahcsia.gov.au/node/2060

[37].      The nominal expenditure is  adjusted to remove the effect of inflation and expressed in 2008–09 dollars using the Implicit Price Deflator (IPD) for Non-Farm GDP. Essentially these figures are the expenditure of previous years expressed in current dollars, enabling a more useful comparison over time.

[38].      For example, Chris Graham in the National Indigenous Times, 29 May, 2008, pp. 15–16 calculated that Indigenous expenditure as a percentage of total revenue had been generally lower in Howard Government budgets than it had been in the Keating Government, and argued that ‘… it’s one thing to measure the amount of money allocated to Indigenous affairs. It’s another thing altogether to measure the amount of money available to be allocated to Indigenous affairs.’ 

[39].      See Helen Hughes and Mark Hughes, ‘Money well spent’, Ideas@The Centre, 11 March 2011, viewed 17 August 2012, http://www.cis.org.au/publications/ideasthecentre/article/2478-money-well-spent

[40].      See J Deeble, J Shelton Agar and J Goss, Expenditures on health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples 2004–05¸ Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Canberra, February 2008, viewed 15 September 2010, http://www.aihw.gov.au/publications/hwe/eohfatsip04-05/eohfatsip04-05.pdf

[41].      Ibid.

[42].      Department of Finance and Regulation, Strategic Review of Indigenous Expenditure, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, February 2010, viewed 13 September 2012, http://www.finance.gov.au/foi/disclosure-log/2011/docs/foi_10-27_strategic_review_indigenous_expenditure.pdf

[43].      Productivity Commission, 2012 Indigenous Expenditure Report, 2012, viewed 13 September 2012, http://www.pc.gov.au/gsp/ier/indigenous-expenditure-2012 .

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