The 2013-14 Budget has provided for the continuation of funding for such ‘Closing the Gap’ National partnerships as those on Remote Indigenous Housing, Indigenous Economic Participation, Indigenous Early Childhood Development, Remote Service Delivery, Remote Indigenous Public Internet Access and Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory, and renewed funding for Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health Outcomes (whose 2008 funding commitment is due to expire this year).
Indigenous people will benefit from the implementation of a new needs-based funding model for schools as part of the National Plan for School Improvement, $800.0 million over six years to extend funding for programs previously funded under the Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Act 2000 extension, and $127.5 million to extend programs that help young Australians gain qualifications or employment. The only measures offering entirely new Indigenous-specific funding are two Indigenous education scholarship programs— $10.0 million for 2012-13 to the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation (which supports the placement of Indigenous students in boarding schools) and an additional $11.9 million over four years for the Indigenous Youth Leadership Program—see brief on ‘Indigenous education’.
In the Health and Ageing portfolio the Indigenous-specific budget measures include the continuation of programs with funding already included in the forward estimates (improving trachoma control for Indigenous Australians, and mosquito control and cross border liaison in the Torres Strait) and a saving of $20.0 million over four years to the National Rural and Remote Health Infrastructure Program with future grant rounds to focus on remote areas and Indigenous communities.
Measures in the Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs portfolio include:
$26.3 million ($24.5 million new and $1.8 million redirected from a 2012-13 Budget measure) to continue welfare reform initiatives in the Cape York until 31 December 2015
$16.4 million ($4.5 million from existing departmental funds) over two years to continue and expand income management in Western Australia
$44.1 million to continue the existing Municipal and Essential Services Program until 30 June 2014, effecting delivery of essential services to indigenous people in around 340 remote communities
$15.0 million over three years from 2014-15 to continue funding to the National Congress of Australia's First Peoples, a representative body created in 2010 to facilitate engagement and consultation on government policy and processes
$6.2 million of capital funding over two years to the Aboriginal Hostels Limited to upgrade facilities located in remote and regional areas of Northern Australia
$3.0 million to extend for one year the Community Development Financial Institutions pilot program which provides marginalised people, focusing on the pilot’s indigenous people, access to affordable credit and financial literacy assistance
$1.3 million over two years to continue our support of the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children, as part of the $4.3 over two years ‘Longitudinal Surveys—additional funding’ measure.
In the Attorney-General’s portfolio measures include $12.0 million additional funding over two years for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services, and $10.3 million additional fund over four years for Community Legal Centres, many of whose clients are Indigenous.
Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport portfolio measures include—as part of Creative Australia—$14.0 million over four years to expand the existing Indigenous Languages Support program, an additional $11.3 million over four years to continue the Closing the Gap component of the Indigenous Visual Arts Industry Support program, and an additional $1.7 million over four years for the National Aboriginal and Islander Skills Development Association Dance College.
$141.5 million over five years is being redirected from ‘Caring for our Country’ (which will continue to receive $2.1 billion over five years from 2013–14 for the delivery of sustainable natural resource management) to fund other programs in the Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities portfolio.
In the Infrastructure and Transport portfolio measures include $9.9 million over two years to provide a further funding round for the Remote Airstrip Upgrade component of the Regional Aviation Access program, while $1.3 million over two years is provided in the Parliament portfolio to support the Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ work towards a parliamentary and community consensus on referendum proposals.
Minister Macklin also referred in her Budget statement to $14.4 million for Reconciliation Australia and $6 million for the Army Aboriginal Community Assistance Program. They represent a continuation of an earlier funding level with neither reported as a budget measure in budget paper no. 2.
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