McAllister, Dodson and McCarthy Media Release: Nigel Scullion Still Failing On Indigenous Advancement Strategy
3.25pm | March 03, 2017
DEPUTY CHAIR, SENATE FINANCE AND PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION COMMITEE
SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS AND ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDERS
SENATOR FOR WESTERN AUSTRALIA
SENATOR FOR THE NORTHERN TERRITORY
CHAIR, ABORIGINAL & TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER CAUCUS COMMITTEE
NIGEL SCULLION STILL FAILING ON INDIGENOUS ADVANCEMENT STRATEGY
Evidence heard at Senate Estimates this morning shows the Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion continues to preside over a failing Indigenous Advancement Strategy which is not delivering for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.
It is extraordinary that after nearly three years of abject failure, a damning Senate inquiry and a scathing Auditor General’s report, the Minister still doesn’t have proper processes in place to consult with communities and service providers, or to evaluate the effectiveness of the programs he is funding.
Today Minister Scullion said he relied on his own informal discussions to help him make decisions about funding and service delivery – but he can’t tell us what he learned.
Senator McAllister: And did you keep any written records of those consultations?
Minister Scullion: No, no, no I didn’t.
On the Auditor’s criticisms of lack of proper consultation, the Minister responded:
“It is what it is.”
The Auditor’s report also criticised the fact that no evaluation framework was approved for the Indigenous Advancement Strategy. Yet today, the Minister didn’t even know whether or not he has since approved an evaluation framework.
Senator McAllister: Minister, have you now signed off on an evaluation framework?
Minister Scullion: I don’t recall. But I’ll just check with my department… nup.
Despite so much criticism of the failure to properly establish performance criteria and targets for funded programs, the Minister has not done enough to properly fix it, and in any case, can’t remember what he has or hasn’t done.
Labor is deeply concerned that the Government hasn’t learned any lessons from the litany of failures in this portfolio. It is no surprise that this Government is failing to reach the Closing the Gap targets
The Indigenous Advancement Strategy needs to be ripped up and replaced with something that respects local voices, gives more control to communities, and prioritises evidence-based outcomes.
Labor wants a bipartisan approach to improving the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, but we cannot ignore or excuse these failings.
Labor is prepared to work with the Government to right these wrongs and get back to improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.
FRIDAY, 3 MARCH 2017
MEDIA CONTACT: JOHANNA KERIN (MCCARTHY) 0417 387 775
LYNDAL HOWISON (MCALLISTER) 0404 854 033