The Coalition Government’s 2017-18 Budget is driving jobs, growth and investment in the future of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by supporting them into employment and growing the Indigenous business sector.
The Budget builds on the Government’s funding provided to more than 1200 organisations through the Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) – with a significant number of these organisations already funded beyond 2018.
The IAS grant funding round increased the number of Indigenous organisations funded from 30 per cent to 45 per cent (receiving 55 per cent of the funding).
Building on the success of the Indigenous Procurement Policy, the Government has released a draft Indigenous Business Sector Strategy for further consultation with the sector.
Over the past 12 months, the Government has been working collaboratively with the Indigenous business sector to understand what Indigenous businesses need to grow, survive and thrive in the 21st century.
The Indigenous Business Sector Strategy is our plan for giving Indigenous businesses greater access to support to foster new ideas, information about business opportunities and the provision of timely support suited to their needs.
As part of these reforms, the Government is also working with Indigenous Business Australia to refocus the services it delivers to help more Indigenous start-ups and entrepreneurs.
Mainstream employment approaches in remote areas have historically failed to provide remote jobseekers with daily activities and meaningful pathways to work.
The Government’s Community Development Programme (CDP) has addressed this by supporting First Australians in remote Australia into work.
While the CDP has had great success in delivering jobs and support for remote jobseekers, more needs to be done to break the cycle of welfare dependency and ensure jobseekers are actively engaged and contributing to their communities.
The Government has listened closely to people and communities and as a result will be undertaking a consultation process on a new employment and participation model for remote Australia that will build on the success of the CDP. This will exclude the CDP from changes that are being announced to the jobactive programme in this Budget.
The Government also continues to improve the operation of the CDP and is investing $11 million to develop and implement a CDP youth engagement strategy in collaboration with local schools. This investment includes the employment of youth workers to transition young people into training and employment.
Although there has been significant progress in improving opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, more needs to be done. To speed up the pace of change, we need to ensure programmes and policies delivered to improve outcomes for First Australians are as effective as possible.
The Government has asked the Productivity Commission to develop and implement a whole-of-government evaluation strategy for policies and programmes impacting on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, to be reported against by all Commonwealth agencies.
The Government will bring forward legislation to put in place a specialist Commissioner to lead this work. This would be in line with existing specialist Commissioners for Social Policy, Industry and Environment.
The Government will also invest $50 million over four years to establish an Indigenous Research Fund and strengthen evaluation of the Indigenous Advancement Strategy.
The research and evaluation is critical for the work we are doing with COAG and Indigenous leaders, communities and organisations to refresh the Closing the Gap agenda.
The roll out of the evaluation framework will be in close consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This reflects the Coalition’s absolute commitment to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to improve outcomes for our First Australians.