2018-19 Budget to strengthen economic, employment and health opportunities for First Australians

Release Date: 
9 May 2018
Media release

First Australians right across the nation will benefit from a stronger economy, more jobs and guaranteed essential services through the 2018-19 Federal Budget.

Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, said this year’s Budget is delivering for First Australians across the board by investing in health, safety and security through economic and employment opportunities.

"The Coalition Government’s economic plan has already delivered over 400,000 jobs last year – the highest number of any year on record.

"We are delivering tax relief to hard-working Australian families, guaranteeing the essential services in health, education and community safety that all Australians rely upon, returning the Budget to a credible trajectory to surplus, while setting the stage for a return of business confidence and the jobs boom. We are also ensuring that First Australians have their fair share of this economic success."

The Coalition Government’s cross-portfolio investment in initiatives to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians include:

  • The Community Development Programme (CDP) reforms to ensure remote job seekers are further supported on their pathway to employment. It will now be a simpler, more streamlined program, with less interactions with the national welfare system for remote job seekers. This is being complemented by a government-funded employment program for 6,000 jobs in remote Australia.
  • A new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Land and Sea Future Fund (ATSILSFF) will replace the $2 billion Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Land Account (Land Account) leaving the Fund up to $1.5 billion better off, over 20 years, compared to the current investment mandate.
  • $550 million over five years ($110 million per annum) to support remote housing in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across the Northern Territory. This funding will be matched by Northern Territory Government contributions. Negotiations remain ongoing with Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland however the Commonwealth remains hopeful of reaching an agreement with these jurisdictions soon.
  • $3.8 billion investment to the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme (IAHP) from 2018‑19, an increase of over $800 million compared with the previous four years.
  • $38.1 million, over five years, to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who need to travel away from home for education, in recognition of the 50th anniversary of ABSTUDY.
  • $105 million for better access to aged care Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
  • $18.2 million to support domestic violence prevention and protection programs for women and girls including maintaining the current DV alert service and 1800RESPECT trauma counselling service.
  • $34.8 million over four years to support the delivery of dialysis by nurses, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers in remote areas, under a new Medicare Benefits Schedule item.
  • $23.2 million over four years for Healthy Active Beginning Package which includes a policy to reduce the traumatic injury rate among young Indigenous Australians, who are 4.5 times more likely to sustain serious injury than non-Indigenous children.
  • $200 million for a third round of the Building Better Regions Funding to support rural, regional and remote community infrastructure projects.
  • $28.3 million over four years for Remote Airstrip Upgrade works supporting air access to remote towns and Indigenous communities.
  • $2 million over three years to the Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) for a program of preservation and celebration of Indigenous languages and culture.

This Budget confirms the Coalition Government’s continued investment of $5 billion over four years through the Indigenous Advancement Strategy which is making targeted investments in the three priorities fundamental to improving outcomes – getting kids to school, adults to work and making communities safer. Importantly, the number of Indigenous organisations delivering services has drastically increased under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy from 30 to 45 per cent now.

Minister Scullion said efforts across the government would build on the success of initiatives such as the Indigenous Procurement Policy, which has seen over 1,000 Indigenous businesses win Australian Government contracts worth more than $1 billion since the policy’s inception in July 2015. The IPP stands in stark contrast to the pathetic $6.2 million to just 30 Indigenous businesses in Labor’s last year in government.

"The Indigenous Grants Policy (IGP) we unveiled in February will see services intended specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to be delivered by local Indigenous organisations. The policy will be trialled later this year for grants administered by the Department of Communications and the Arts, the Department of Social Services and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

"The IGP builds on the Coalition’s efforts to deliver more grant funding through the Indigenous Advancement Strategy to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations. We are now delivering 55 per cent of grants through First Australian owned or controlled organisations compared with 35 per cent under Labor.

"To drive greater change and to close the gap, we need to harness greater opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across all areas of government expenditure and investment and that is precisely what we are doing," Minister Scullion said.

"Through the Indigenous Business Sector Strategy, the Employment Parity Initiative, the Vocational Training and Employment Centre programme and the Indigenous Rangers Programme we are supporting First Australians realise their economic aspirations.

"Our strategic partnerships with First Nations’ representative bodies like the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council in Western Sydney to include procurement and employment targets as part of the $5 billion Western Sydney Airport, and with the Northern Land Council on remote housing in the Northern Territory, demonstrates our strong commitment to putting First Australians at the heart of our economic plan for the nation," Minister Scullion said today.