House debates

Monday, 21 June 2021


Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2021-2022; Consideration in Detail

6:02 pm

Photo of Ben MortonBen Morton (Tangney, Liberal Party, Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister and Cabinet) Share this | Hansard source

Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker, for the opportunity to make an opening statement on behalf of the Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt. The 2021-22 budget ensures Indigenous Australians are fully part of the Morrison government's plan to secure Australia's economic recovery through delivering the support they need to build skills, address barriers, find employment, nurture thriving families and ensure their communities are safer, healthier and more resilient. In line with our approach under the National Agreement on Closing the Gap, we have galvanised every portfolio to play a role in improving the lives of Indigenous Australians.

Of the total appropriations for the portfolio, $1.9 billion relates to Indigenous affairs, with funding provided to the National Indigenous Australians Agency, Aboriginal Hostels Ltd, the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Indigenous Business Australia, the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation and the Torres Strait Regional Authority. We will deliver a $243.6 million Indigenous Skills and Jobs Advancement package to improve economic, social and education outcomes for Indigenous Australians. This package includes $128.4 million over three years for a new Indigenous Skills and Employment Program, $63.5 million to expand Indigenous girls academies programs across Australia, $36.7 million in increased support for prescribed bodies corporate as well as $15 million in targeted grant programs to improve food security and economic outcomes for remote communities.

The Morrison government is committed to closing the gap in employment and economic participation for Indigenous Australians. These new initiatives will invest in skills and training and will contribute to economic recovery and growth for Indigenous Australians following the COVID-19 pandemic. The Morrison government is also providing $111 million for the Community Development Program to meet the increased case load resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as developing a new Remote Jobs Program to replace the CDP from 2023. There is now a great opportunity for Indigenous remote communities to come together to influence and co-design the new Remote Jobs Program in partnership with the government, with pilots to commence later this year.

As part of the Women's Safety Package, the NIAA will receive $26 million over four years to better support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children who have experienced or are experiencing family violence, of which $17 million will expand family violence prevention legal services. These measures build on the Morrison government's continued commitment to the $5.7 billion Indigenous Advancement Strategy, helping to secure Australia's recovery by driving significant progress on a wide range of social and economic outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The Morrison government is proud to support a range of measures across all portfolios in the 2021-22 budget, both mainstream and targeted to provide further investments to deliver support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in achieving their goals. Across the Commonwealth portfolios, Indigenous Australians will benefit from further measures to ensure strong and safe Indigenous families and households, address Indigenous mental health in our communities, protect Indigenous land and promote Indigenous culture. These include $79 million over four years under the mental health package and $117.2 million over four years to establish a national database on service delivery performance and outcomes across the mental health system. Part of the $58.8 million in funding initiatives to attract, upskill and redistribute mental health professionals will also be used to increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health workers.

As part of the Women's Economic Security Package, $13.9 million is being directed to support Indigenous women to start social enterprises, improving their safety and economic security. Eleven point six million dollars over four years will expand and create new Indigenous protected areas that will provide greater coverage of sea country to protect marine biodiversity and create additional employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Two point two million dollars will be provided to build the capacity of the Northern Land Council to facilitate land use agreements and drive economic opportunities in the Beetaloo Sub-basin.

The Morrison government believes in working together with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to make local decisions and in providing the support needed to deliver better life outcomes for Indigenous Australians. Further measures will also be released midyear in line with the delivery of the Commonwealth's first Closing the Gap implementation plan. Thank you for the opportunity to set out some of the highlights of our 2021-22 budget measures, combined with the Morrison government's commitment to transform the way government works with Indigenous Australians. This budget will empower them to get a great start in life, stay safe and healthy, secure employment and contribute to Australia's recovery.


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