Additional comments of the Australian Greens

Additional comments of the Australian Greens

1.1        The Finance and Public Administration’s inquiry into the Commonwealth Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) tendering processes is an important step in understanding failures in Government policy and process, and making recommendations to improve to it.  The evidence to the inquiry shows that the IAS process was chaotic and flawed. It involved cuts to services, and multiple significant implementation problems. As noted in the report, these problems include:

1.2        The IAS implementation was deeply flawed, and had very real, negative impacts for communities across Australia. The Australian Greens support the report and recommendations of the committee, however we recommend that the Government take additional action.

Reinstating funding

1.3        In addition to the multiple significant implementation failures, the IAS was a significant cut to funding services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander programmes. The initial cut in the 2014-15 Budget was $534.4 million,[1] and in subsequent budget updates there were further cuts.[2]

1.4        These cuts to funding occur in a context where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia experience systematic disadvantage. The latest Prime Minister's Closing the Gap 2016 report shows little progress on many of the indicators.[3]

1.5        Funding cuts represent very real gaps in service for communities. A reduction in funding to a community centre or legal service can have a very significant impact. Given the significant challenges that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples face, the Government should not be removing funding for services.

Service gaps

1.6        A consistent theme in evidence to the inquiry was the significant gaps that occurred as a result of the IAS. Evidence to the inquiry shows that these persist even after PM&C has attempted a gaps analysis.[4]

1.7        These gaps reflect the need for appropriate analysis of community needs. The Australian Greens support the committee's recommendations that future tender rounds be based on a strong understanding of the services available, and community needs (Recommendations 2 and 3).

1.8        Funding and service gaps have very real world impacts. Unfunded legal and community services, and other programs, represent a loss of support to struggling communities.

The Australian Greens recommend that:

Senator Rachel Siewert

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