A new report highlights the challenges that remain to significantly improve the lives of Indigenous people living in remote communities, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, said today.
The eighth report of the Coordinator General for Remote Indigenous Services, released today, details outcomes of the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Service Delivery which aims to improve the delivery of government services to people living in 29 priority communities across Australia.
“The Coordinator General, Brian Gleeson, says in the report that while the National Partnership has made a solid start on improving the quality of life for Indigenous people in remote communities, it will take a generation to change,” the Minister said.
“That’s why I am determined to ensure that no time is wasted in implementing key measures, such as lifting school attendance.
“Ensuring every child attends school every day and receives an education that meets national standards be a fundamental that is without question, but attendance rates at too many schools in remote Indigenous communities are not good enough.
“This will be a key focus of the Australian Government’s efforts to improve the circumstances of remote Indigenous people to ensure that we build future capability and capacity.”
The Minister said the report highlights the need for greater government coordination as a critical factor in achieving sustainable results in communities.
“That’s exactly why the Government has transferred most Indigenous policy and programmes into the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C),” Minister Scullion said.
“The significance of this move should not be under-estimated. It puts Indigenous affairs at the centre of decision-making and will simplify programme delivery and cut red tape to ensure funding It has involved moving 1700 employees from eight departments to better coordinate Indigenous programme funding in 2013-14 totalling $2.5 billion.”
Mr Gleeson also says in his report that further attention needs to be paid to three key areas:
- Enhancing local governance and local ownership of decision making
- Reforming funding arrangements to support decision making at the local level
- Introducing simplified and meaningful monitoring and evaluation frameworks that reflect community perceptions of success.
The report also identifies areas where continued momentum can yield significant results, including joint planning and engagement between communities and government; a renewed focus on intergovernmental cooperation to achieve strategic objectives; ongoing government presence in communities; greater shared responsibility for accountability and transparency; and a strengthened independent monitoring and accountability mechanism.
“I thank Mr Gleeson for his report and the important assistance he provides in supporting real change in remote Indigenous communities,” Minister Scullion said.
The report is available at www.cgris.gov.au