08.02.17 SCULLION DISMISSES THE ANAO’S DAMNING REPORT INTO THE INDIGENOUS ADVANCEMENT STRATEGY

SCULLION DISMISSES THE ANAO’s DAMNING REPORT INTO THE INDIGENOUS ADVANCEMENT STRATEGY

Today’s attack in the Senate by the Minister for Indigenous Affairs on the Australian National Audit Office’s damning report into the Government's Indigenous Advancement Strategy was riddled with confusion, aggression and defensiveness.

Senator Scullion pleaded, “this is a bureaucratic report, a very important report for bureaucrats about what box was ticked and what box was not ticked”.

This is a disappointing response and a missed opportunity to take the findings of the ANAO report to heart in a thoughtful and considered way.

The ANAO is a credible, independent authority and the Minister should not dismiss the findings lightly.

Senator Dodson responded that the Minister “has failed to articulate a way of moving beyond the current policy settings that have led to the problems that the ANAO has revealed.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and their organisations have many of the answers to what works and they have a collective resource of knowledge on why it works.

“That comes through again and again in the views expressed by informed academics, by community organisations, and by the people whose lives are being damaged by the incompetence of your officials,” Senator Dodson said.

The Indigenous Advancement Strategy has been a disaster from the very beginning.

Mr Scullion denied that the Government has ripped more than $500 million from the Indigenous Affairs budget, but the ANAO report pointed to $534.4 million in savings.

The poorly delivered strategy has led to widespread confusion amongst local organisations, and providers across the country.

The ANAO report finds:

  • The implementation of the Indigenous Advancement Strategy was botched.
  • Administration of funding “fell short of the standard required to effectively manage a billion dollars of Commonwealth resources”.
  • There was a failure to consistently assess funding applications against the guidelines.
  • There was a failure to establish performance targets for all programs.
  • There is little evidence that programs which received funding delivered the desired outcomes.
  • There was not proper communication or consultation with organisations.

Labor wants a bipartisan approach to improving the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, but we cannot ignore or excuse these failings, which have hit our communities very hard.

WEDNESDAY, 8 FEBRUARY 2017

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