Media Statement: May 15 2024



While last night’s budget brought a change in rhetoric from the Albanese government, they are doomed to commit the same mistakes without an audit into spending on Indigenous programs, said Shadow Minister for Indigenous Australians Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price.

“It is a relief the Government has listened to the Coalition's call to leave the divisive direction of the Voice behind, and instead focus on practical measures and economic opportunity for Indigenous Australians,” said Senator Nampijinpa Price. “We have been calling for this directional change for some time and look forward to investigating to see if there is any substance to this rhetoric.”

However, the Shadow Minister for Indigenous Australians said without a serious examination of existing expenditure, expectations to improve Closing the Gap targets should be tempered, “We need an audit into spending on Indigenous programs. If we do not examine what is working and what is failing, nothing will improve. So much has been spent in this portfolio over the years, there are game-changing lessons just sitting and waiting to be unearthed with a proper forensic examination.”

Senator Nampijinpa Price also said that the need for an audit to ensure funding is used as effectively as possible and getting to those who genuinely need it most is also growing among those who are on the ground with lived experience, “I hear people calling for it everywhere I go. The Mayor of Alice Springs Matt Paterson has also called for an investigation, and as independent member Robyn Lambley said, “we'll still be talking about the same problems if there's not greater accountability for every dollar that's spent in this space”.

Senator Nampijinpa Price did voice her concern on the NT Remote Housing Agreement, and the Remote Jobs and Economic Development Program.

‘When the Prime Minister used Binjari as a backdrop for his remote housing announcement and then drove off without meeting with the Binjari Aboriginal Corporation, alarm bells started ringing. There are no minimum targets, and the Commonwealth is partnering with a Territory government that was still $500 million behind its previous remote housing agreement when the new one was announced,” Senator Nampijinpa Price said.

Senator Nampijinpa Price also said that “We need the replacement for the CDP to work, but we still have no detail on what industries are targeted and what the mutual obligations will be. Earlier this year we learned the government’s projections for the Remote Jobs and Economic Development Program were based on a trial involving just 20 applications for 88 jobs, and last night we learned there is funding to extend the existing CDP by three years. The details so far will not bring any confidence to those eagerly waiting for the new CDP to be up and running.”

In addition, to her for call for an audit, Senator Nampijinpa Price reiterated her call for a Royal Commission into sexual abuse in remote Indigenous communities, “We need a Royal Commission to bring this unfolding tragedy in our most marginalised communities to light. Like so much of what life is actually like in our remote communities, it is out of sight and out of mind to this Government.”

Media: Damian Wilks 0428 181 200