The proposal to relocate staff from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet responsible for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs to Alice Springs leaves more questions than answers. We have no idea what precisely is being proposed or what positions are proposed to be relocated to Alice Springs.
Of course, anything which will bring jobs to the Red Centre, and allow the public servants responsible to be in greater contact and consultation with the very people they are seeking to deliver would be a positive move.
However, this proposal should not detract from the fact that nearly all of the Closing the Gap targets are not being met.
Nor should it detract from the fact that this government has completely failed to consult with Australia’s First peoples.
Or that it has failed Australia’s First peoples in delivering an unfair Community Development Program scheme, which has seen participants penalised at a much higher rate than mainstream jobactive participants.
Or that is has completely failed to deliver front-line services by implementing the Indigenous Advancement strategy, which has consistently failed to assess funding applications against department guidelines.
Furthermore, they have cut IAS funding by $500 million.
This Government’s approach to Indigenous affairs has been a disaster, with a loss of local voice and local control.
Whether decentralising some staff in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet would actually do any good in the face of this government’s profound and consistent failure in the portfolio is uncertain.
MONDAY, APRIL 10 2017