Australian Government, 2011‑12 Budget
Budget

Budget Highlights

2011­12 Budget — Investment in Indigenous Affairs

Delivering Investment to Close the Gap

We are building on the significant reforms already in place to deliver new investments and services and encourage personal responsibility to close the gap in Indigenous disadvantage.

  • Cape York Welfare Reform Trial — extension ($16.1 million over two years) to build on the gains already made in education and social responsibility and allow further work on home ownership, in partnership with the Queensland Government, regional organisations and local Indigenous communities
  • Bringing Them Home and Expanding Link Up Programs for the Stolen Generations — continuation ($54.4 million over five years) to consolidate counselling, family tracing and reunion services under an social and emotional wellbeing program to better support Indigenous communities including members of the Stolen Generations
  • Establishing Quality Health Standards in Indigenous Health Services — continuation ($35.0 million over four years) to strengthen the Indigenous health sector to achieve clinical and organisational accreditation
  • Health and Hospitals Fund Regional Priority Round ($113.4 million over five years) to provide 15 new or expanded Indigenous health clinics and 40 new renal dialysis chairs
  • Indigenous Education Targeted Assistance — extension ($171.3 million over two years from 2012‑13) to ensure funding certainty for all students, parents, communities and organisations currently funded or supported through the suite of targeted programs under the Act

 

Increasing Opportunities for Economic Participation and Employment

Economic participation and employment is fundamental to improving wellbeing and quality of life for Indigenous Australians, their families and communities.

  • Building Australia's Future Workforce — Indigenous Youth Careers Pathways Program ($50.7 million over four years) to provide school based traineeships and other support to help up to 6,400 Indigenous students make an effective transition to work or further study
  • Building Australia's Future Workforce —Indigenous Ranger Cadetships — pilot program ($4.1 million over three years) to trial a nationally recognised vocational education and training qualification for Indigenous school students in natural resource management, heritage related activities and cultural studies
  • Community Development Employment Projects program — eligibility for the Approved Program of Work Supplement ($25.5 million over five years) to extend to CDEP participants the fortnightly $20.80 supplement for job seekers on income support payments who participate in an approved program of works, providing an additional incentive to participate in the CDEP program
  • Building Australia's Future Workforce — Employment Services Arrangements — Job Services Australia in non-remote areas — continuation and new initiatives ($6.1 million over four years) to pilot culturally appropriate mentoring support for Indigenous job seekers when they commence work

 

UNDERPINNING THESE INVESTMENTS WE ARE:

Building Mutual Understanding and Respect

Building mutual understanding and respect between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians underpins our commitment to closing the gap.

  • Review of the Australian Government's Investment in the Indigenous Broadcasting and Media Sector — interim response ($15.2 million in 2011­12) to contribute to a sustainable future for Indigenous broadcasting

Investing in Service Delivery Improvements Benefiting Indigenous Australians

Removing barriers to accessing non-Indigenous-specific services is critical to closing the gap by enabling Indigenous Australians to receive the full benefit of services they are entitled to.

  • National Mental Health Reform — expansion of Access to Allied Psychological Services ($205.9 million over five years, including $34.9 million in Indigenous-specific funding) to provide access to mental health services for up to an additional 184,500 people, including around 18,000 Indigenous people
  • National Mental Health Reform — expanding community mental health services — additional personal helpers and mentors and respite services ($208.3 million over five years) to expand support for people with severe mental illness including specialist services focusing on the needs of Indigenous Australians living in remote areas
  • Primary Care — redirection of the domestic violence referral points project ($8.5 million over four years) to expand and reform the support available for women experiencing domestic violence
  • Regional Aviation Access Program — airstrip upgrades — extension ($28.0 million over two years) for critical safety upgrades at remote and isolated airstrips across Australia, including in remote Indigenous communities
  • Service Delivery Reform — improving services — increased support for people needing assistance ($74.4 million over four years) to trial a case coordination approach to the delivery of core health and social services, such as Medicare and Centrelink, which is tailored to customers' individual circumstances
  • Service Delivery Reform — improving access — extension of rural mobile services and outreach support for the homeless ($24.5 million over four years) to improve service delivery to people living in rural and regional areas and those who are socially isolated
  • Building Australia's Future Workforce — Employment Services Arrangements — Job Services Australia and Disability Employment Services in remote areas — contract extension and new initiatives ($1.0 million over two years) to allow employment service providers to work better with job seekers in remote areas, many of whom are Indigenous, to secure sustainable jobs and meet employers' needs
  • Family Support Program — indexation changes ($2.9 million in this Budget in addition to existing funding of $490 million over three years) to support families, improve child wellbeing and safety, and build more resilient communities, with the additional funding of $2.9 million to help make sure the program can keep pace with increasing costs in future years

Investing to Close the Gap

Budget Initiative — Cape York Welfare Reform Trial — extension

The Government is providing $16.1 million to extend the current trial of welfare reform in Cape York until 31 December 2012. To ensure the trial continues to meet the needs of local people, the Queensland Government will lead a process of consultation with Cape York communities on the extension.

The extension will build on partnerships established with the Queensland Government, the Cape York Institute for Policy and Leadership, regional organisations and local Indigenous communities.

The Cape York Welfare Reform Trial is an Indigenous-led approach to improving social and economic outcomes and aims to restore positive social norms, reestablish local Indigenous authority, and support economic engagement.

Since it began in July 2008, Aurukun, Coen, Hope Vale and Mossman Gorge have seen improvements in community safety, school attendance, and care and protection of children.

A key plank of the Trial is the Family Responsibilities Commission, made up of Local Commissioners, who are respected local people, and the Commissioner who is a retired senior magistrate. The Commissioners hold conferences with community members and refer people to support services and income management if required.

The Australian Government is determined to improve parental responsibility, combat welfare dependence and ensure welfare payments are spent in the best interests of children. The trial extension through this additional funding will allow government to build on gains already seen in education and social responsibility by continuing measures including case managers to work with families in partnership with the Family Responsibilities Commission to remove barriers to school attendance; income management through Centrelink when recommended by the Family Responsibilities Commission; and Student Education Trusts to help families save for their children's educational needs. More than 610 trusts have been set up across the four communities to date, with all children in Coen and Mossman Gorge signed up to the program.

Funding is also provided for new activity to advance home ownership opportunities in Cape York.

The Cape York Welfare Reform trial will continue to be evaluated this year, to inform future directions in consultation with the four communities.

Budget Initiative — National Mental Health Reform — expansion of Access to Allied Psychological Services

The Government is providing $205.9 million over five years from 2011‑12 to 2015-16 including $34.9 million in Indigenous-specific funding to deliver much-needed mental health services under the ATAPS Program to up to an extra 184,500 Australians, including around 18,000 Indigenous Australians.

The ATAPS Program provides short-term, targeted psychological services for people with a diagnosed mental illness who have been referred by a General Practitioner. It targets hard-to-reach people who would otherwise miss out on mental health services. They include low-income earners, people in rural and remote areas and Indigenous Australians. The expansion of the ATAPS Program will allow for the provision of more culturally appropriate services for Indigenous people.

Budget Initiative — National Mental Health Reform — expanding community mental health services — additional personal helpers and mentors and respite services

The Personal Helpers and Mentors (PHaMS) Program supports people with severe mental illness. The 2011‑12 Budget is providing $208.3 million over five years for an additional 425 new community mental health workers, called Personal Helpers and Mentors, to work one on one with an additional 3,400 people with severe mental illness including 1,200 people with mental illness who are referred to employment services. The initiative will also assist family members and carers of people with mental illness. The new workers will join the 1,000 workers already providing practical support in PHaMS services across the country.

Along with services around Australia that are accessible to Indigenous people, PHaMS delivers specialist remote services that have a strong focus on cultural, mental and physical healing for Indigenous people.

Budget Initiative — Establishing Quality Health Standards in Indigenous Health Services — continuation

To improve the quality and safety of health services delivered to Indigenous Australians, the Government will provide $35.0 million over four years from 2011‑12 to 2014-15 to continue the Establishing Quality Health Standards program.

This program assists eligible Indigenous health organisations to achieve clinical accreditation from the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and other important health accreditation standards, through the assistance of one-on-one expert advice and accreditation support grants.

Budget Initiative — Bringing Them Home and Expanding Link Up Programs for the Stolen Generations — continuation

These programs provide counselling, family tracing and reunion services to Indigenous communities including members of the Stolen Generations. The Government is continuing to support the programs with $54.4 million over five years from 2011‑12 to 2015-16 to consolidate services under a cohesive social and emotional wellbeing program. This will ensure more people in need can access the services and allow more flexible models of delivery. The number of clients receiving Link Up services doubled from approximately 5,500 in 2006 to approximately 11,500 in 2010, leading to a substantial increase in reunions.

This measure complements the Government's investment in mental health and suicide prevention, and supports connection to family, country and culture, which are key determinants of good mental health for Indigenous people.

Budget Initiative — Service Delivery Reform — Improving Services

The Government is providing $74.4 million from 2011‑12 to 2014-15 to trial a new approach to service delivery, known as 'case coordination'. The new approach will assist Indigenous and other people to access services appropriate to their personal circumstances.

Human Services staff will be trained to recognise and respond to customer needs with sensitivity and compassion, and with a focus on early intervention. The assistance provided will range from simple referrals to more intensive support, such as multiple coordinated appointments with local community and non‑government services.

The Government is also continuing to support mobile and outreach work, providing $24.5 million over four years to improve service delivery to people living in rural and regional areas and those who are socially isolated. Two existing mobile offices will continue to visit rural and regional areas, with a third to be introduced by 2014-15. Thirty three extra Community Engagement Officer and Social Worker positions will be created, focussing on those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, including Indigenous Australians.

The Government is also funding further Human Services reforms to improve access to services across Australia. It will work in partnership with key stakeholders, including Indigenous Australians, to redesign service delivery.

Increasing Opportunities for Economic Participation and Employment

Budget Initiative — Building Australia's Future Workforce — Indigenous Youth Careers Pathways Program

From the start of the 2012 school year, up to 6,400 Indigenous students over four years will have the opportunity to undertake a school-based traineeship as part of the Indigenous Youth Careers Pathways Program at a cost of $50.7 million over four years from 2011‑12 to 2014-15.

The program will provide young people with personal mentoring and case management to help them deal with any issues make moving from school to work difficult. They will also work one on one with participating employers who provide additional mentoring, work experience and employment. Traineeships will be available for students in years 11 and 12 in targeted high schools and year 10 in some circumstances.

The program will also assist younger high school students through aspiration building, mentoring and case management to encourage them to stay at school and aspire to completing a School Based Traineeship, further education or employment.

Budget Initiative — Building Australia's Future Workforce — Indigenous Ranger Cadetships — pilot program

The Government is providing $4.1 million over three years from 2011‑12 to 2013‑14 to give Indigenous students the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge to become a ranger. Cadetships in natural resource management, heritage related activities and cultural studies will provide a nationally recognised qualification at the Certificate II level. This qualification will encourage students to finish school and help them qualify for jobs in local land management initiatives, for example with the Working on Country Indigenous ranger program and the Indigenous Land Corporation.

The training program will be developed in partnership with six pilot schools, the relevant Industry Skills Council and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander educational representatives and commence in the 2012 school year. Upon completion of the pilot, a further six schools will be invited to conduct the program in 2013.

Budget Initiative — Community Development Employment Projects program — eligibility for the Approved Program of Work Supplement

The Government is extending the fortnightly $20.80 Approved Program of Work Supplement to all job seekers on income-support payments who participate in the CDEP program, at a cost of $25.5 million over five years from 2010‑11 to 2014-15.

The payment of this supplement to CDEP participants will help them meet the cost of participating in activities and brings the payments into line with payments provided to job seekers in Work for the Dole and other employment programs.

The new arrangements will provide job seekers in remote areas with an additional incentive to participate in the CDEP program.

Budget Initiative — Building Australia's Future Workforce — Employment Services Arrangements

The Government is further improving support for Indigenous Australians to help them find and keep work.

The Government is providing $227.9 million to provide additional wage subsidies and support to help very long-term unemployment job seekers get involved in participation activities such as job training and Work for the Dole. About 17 percent of very long term unemployed job seekers are Indigenous people.

A further $6.1 million over four years is being provided to Jobs Services Australia to pilot the provision of culturally appropriate mentoring support for Indigenous job seekers when they commence work under the measure Building Australia's Future Workforce — Employment Services Arrangements — Job Services Australia in non-remote areas — continuation and new initiatives. An additional $1.0 million over two years, under the measure Building Australia's Future Workforce — Employment Services Arrangements — Job Services Australia and Disability Employment Services in remote areas — contract extension and new initiatives, will allow greater flexibility for employment service providers in remote areas to work better with job seekers, many of whom are Indigenous, to secure sustainable jobs and meet employers' needs.

Building Mutual Understanding and Respect

Budget Initiative — Review of the Australian Government's Investment in the Indigenous Broadcasting and Media Sector — interim response

The Indigenous broadcasting and media sector is fundamental to the identity of Indigenous people. Its messages reach Indigenous and non-Indigenous audiences around Australia. A 2010 survey found that more than half of all Indigenous people surveyed (and six per cent of all Australians surveyed) had listened to an Indigenous radio station in the last month.

The 2010 Review of Australian Government Investment in the Indigenous Broadcasting and Media Sector considered how to ensure that resources allocated to Indigenous broadcasting deliver the best results for Indigenous people. The review highlighted the importance of empowering and building the capacity of the sector. It also highlighted the need for governance and structural reform, particularly in the case of National Indigenous Television (NITV).

As part of an interim response to the review in April 2011 the Government announced that NITV would receive operational funding of $15.2 million for 2011‑12. The Government also announced that responsibility for the Indigenous broadcasting and media sector would move to the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy. During 2011‑12, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy will work with NITV to develop a more sustainable model to achieve the sector's goal of providing more original Indigenous content on free to air television.

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