Malcolm Turnbull is more interested in giving a $80-billion-dollar tax cut to big business than he is to improving the lives of First Nations People.
The 2018 Budget contains a litany of decisions which demonstrate neglect of First Nations people, including:
- Slashing 1.5 billion dollars to remote housing over the next four years.
- Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland will no longer receive any funding for remote housing. These savage cuts to housing will have a devastating effect in remote communities, where overcrowding and homelessness are rife.
- Housing is key determinant to close the gap and underpins the health and well-being of First Nations Peoples. Without safe and secure housing, the gap will never be closed.
CLOSING THE GAP STRATEGY
- No new funding has been allocated to the Closing the Gap strategy, despite the Government announcing a 10 year refresh process in February this year.
- The fact that the Government has failed to allocate adequate funding to the Closing the Gap Refresh is insulting to First Nations peoples and their peak organisations who have been trying to cooperate with the Government on new Closing the Gap targets.
- The closing the gap strategy has been left to languish under this Government, while the gap widens.
- Further, the government has yet again failed to fund the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023.
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
- Failing to address the strategic, integrated and practical reform needed to the CDP program.
- The Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion announced 6,000 new wage-based subsides, but this leaves some 30,000 First Nations peoples subject to the current punitive, discriminatory CDP scheme, which is driving up poverty in remote areas.
- Failing to address the shameful over-incarceration of First Nations Peoples.
- The Government has not provided funding to implement the recommendations from the Northern Territory Royal Commission, or the Australian Law Reform Commissions ‘Pathways to Justice’ report.
- Both the Northern Territory Royal Commission and the ALRC Inquiry into the incarceration rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People were called for by the Turnbull Government, to effectively wash their hands of its findings and provide no fiscal outlays for the recommendations exhibits a shameful lack of leadership.
- This is a human rights abrogation and shows a callous disregard for equal justice for First Nations people.
- Labor has long called for national justice targets, to reduce incarceration rates and improve community safety.
FIRST NATIONS CHILDREN
- First Nations children, our future Australians, are left behind in this budget.
- In 2017, more than 17,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were living in out-of-home care, compared with about 9,000 a decade ago.
- To respond to the shocking number of Aboriginal kids growing up away from country and culture, a Labor Government will convene a national summit on First Nations Children in our first 100 days.
This budget is an indictment on the Turnbull Government that pretends it wants to do things with First Nations peoples.
The Turnbull Government has shown no vision, no plan, no insight and no desire to close the gap and provide a pathway out of poverty for First Nations people.