Responding to the 2016 Federal Budget, Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Dr Helen Szoke said:
“The Turnbull Government has provided no new money to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians faced with shorter life expectancy and dramatically higher incarceration rates.
“Despite the ongoing crisis in incarceration rates, child removal rates and the overall slow progress towards closing the gap in health and wellbeing outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the Turnbull Government has failed in its first opportunity to restore the cuts made by the Abbott Government in the 2014 Federal Budget to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs funding.
“Remarkably, the Treasurer failed to even mention Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs in his budget speech. It appears that the Prime Minister’s promise in his Closing the Gap speech in February of a closer relationship between government and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak bodies and leaders remains a rhetorical flourish rather than a policy and resource commitment.
“While we welcome the previously announced $40 million to the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies for cultural preservation and promotion over the next four years – there is little else.”
Other announced spending measures are within the previously announced budget parameters.
Dr Szoke said the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples remains unfunded and the cuts to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services remain.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people still represent a quarter of the prison population and are 10 times more likely to be removed from their families. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have the solutions but they need the funding to implement those solutions,” Dr Szoke said.
For interviews or more information, please contact Alice Plate on 0418 873 782 or email@example.com