Re­port probes into Abo­rig­i­nal fund­ing

Pilbara News - - News - Ali­cia Per­era

A re­port launched into the re­cip­i­ents of bil­lions worth of fund­ing for Clos­ing the Gap ini­tia­tives in Pil­bara Abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­ni­ties, in­clud­ing Roe­bourne, has found a large pro­por­tion of the money goes to­wards main­stream govern­ment ser­vices.

Lo­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tive body the Pil­bara Abo­rig­i­nal Cor­po­ra­tions and En­ter­prises last year com­mis­sioned Roe­bourne Con­sult­ing Ser­vices to put to­gether the Re­mote Cost Al­lo­ca­tions and Clos­ing the Gap re­port, in re­sponse to claims $53 mil­lion worth of govern­ment fund­ing was go­ing to­wards only 800 in­dige­nous peo­ple liv­ing in Roe­bourne.

The claim was made based on the Aus­tralian Pro­duc­tiv­ity Com­mis­sion’s 2014 In­dige­nous Ex­pen­di­ture Re­port, which found the to­tal amount of direct in­dige­nous ex­pen­di­ture in WA was $4.9 bil­lion.

Af­ter a year of work, the re­port was launched at a meet­ing of 13 Pil­bara Abo­rig­i­nal cor­po­ra­tions in Point Sam­son two weeks ago.

RCS con­sul­tant and re­port au­thor Jolleen Hicks, who is also a Roe­bourne res­i­dent, said PACE had com­mis­sioned her to take a closer look at the 2014 re­view and which bod­ies were re­ceiv­ing most of the fund­ing.

“A lot of this ex­pen­di­ture is around the Clos­ing the Gap strat­egy... ar­eas (in which) the govern­ment wants to close the gaps be­tween Abo­rig­i­nal and non-Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple,” she said.

“The govern­ment is say­ing that they re­ported they spend bil­lions on Abo­rig­i­nal ser­vices and pro­grams each year, and so what PACE ... asked me to do is have a look at that be­cause there’s been con­flict­ing re­ports that it’s ac­tu­ally not bil­lions, it’s in the mil­lions.”

“What I wanted to clearly un­der­stand is what is that all specif­i­cally for, for ser­vices and pro­grams for Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple, and if not, where is it go­ing?”

Ms Hicks said she found the ma­jor­ity of the fund­ing iden­ti­fied in the 2014 re­view went to a com­bi­na­tion of Fed­eral, State and lo­cal govern­ment bod­ies and in­cluded main­stream ser­vices that all Aus­tralian cit­i­zens re­ceive and do not nec­es­sar­ily con­trib­ute to­wards Clos­ing the Gap pro­grams.

She said in Roe­bourne only 20 per cent, or $11.7 mil­lion, of the fund­ing iden­ti­fied in the re­view was go­ing to­wards Abo­rig­i­nal cor­po­ra­tions.

She said two of those main cor­po­ra­tions in Roe­bourne, the Ngar­li­yarndu Bindirri Abo­rig­i­nal Cor­po­ra­tion and Mawarnkarra Health Ser­vice, were well recog­nised as mak­ing pos­i­tive progress on Clos­ing the Gap out­comes.

Ms Hicks said the re­port had been a “lo­ca­tion-based re­view” that had been re­quested by the Roe­bourne com­mu­nity in re­sponse to con­cerns there were too many ser­vice providers de­liv­er­ing too few re­sults in the town.

The re­port found the $939 mil­lion iden­ti­fied in the 2014 re­port went to­wards 63 ser­vice providers who were de­liv­er­ing a to­tal of 206 ser­vices in Roe­bourne.

Re­port au­thor Jolleen Hicks.

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