Additional comments of the Australian Greens
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:
Major gaps in service delivery
A lack of consultation
Rushed processes with poor
Cutting the number of funding
areas created significant challenges, with many programs not captured by the reduced
Challenges for smaller
organisations without the capacity to develop applications in the time frame,
or resources to employ consultants to develop applications, and
Significant uncertainty for
providers, with a very unclear and non-transparent process.
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.
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,
and in subsequent budget updates there were further cuts.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
The Government reinstate the
funding to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' programs cut by the
The Government address the
remaining funding gaps from the IAS funding rounds, including funding legal
services in the Barkly region.
Senator Rachel Siewert
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