Investing to Close The Gap on Indigenous Disadvantage

The Australian Government is continuing to invest to close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage, with more than $5.2 billion in funding for employment, education, health services, community development and community safety.

Page last updated: 08 May 2012

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Joint Release

The Hon Jenny Macklin MP
Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
Minister for Disability Reform

Senator Steven Conroy
Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy

The Hon Peter Garrett MP
Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth

The Hon Warren Snowdon MP
Minister for Indigenous Health

The Hon Kate Ellis MP
Minister for Early Childhood and Childcare

The Hon Julie Collins MP
Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development

8 May 2012

The Australian Government is continuing to invest to close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage, with more than $5.2 billion in funding for employment, education, health services, community development and community safety.

The 2012–13 Budget continues the Government’s long-term efforts to overcome decades of underinvestment, and continue to improve the lives of Indigenous Australians.

Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory

This is a comprehensive $3.4 billion 10-year package to support Aboriginal people in regional and remote areas to live strong and independent lives. We are investing:
  • $713.5 million over 10 years for better primary health care, and better access to allied health services;
  • $40.9 million over 10 years for food security;
  • $694.9 million over 10 years to improve the safety of communities and help communities tackle alcohol abuse;
  • $583.4 million over 10 years to continue to improve Aboriginal children’s access to quality education;
  • $442.4 million over 10 years to strengthen the safety and wellbeing of Aboriginal children, youth and their families;
  • $206.4 million over 10 years to support the continuation of basic municipal and essential services for up to 9,000 Aboriginal people living in outstations and homelands;
  • $19.1 million to create 50 extra Aboriginal Working on Country ranger positions in remote Northern Territory communities over the next four years. In addition, up to 100 Indigenous traineeships will be offered to ensure local people can fill jobs available in their communities;
  • $427.4 million over 10 years to place more local Aboriginal people in Indigenous Engagement Officer jobs, ensure local services are effective, support governance and leadership and local planning, and continue to support interpreting services;
  • $283.5 million to continue our work to improve remote Indigenous housing, and remove asbestos from houses and community buildings. This will complement the substantial investment we are already providing for housing over 10 years;
  • $13.7 million to continue the family and social support services as part of the Alice Springs Transformation Plan which began in 2009 with over $150 million investment.
Remote Jobs and Communities Program
From 1 July 2013, the new $1.5 billion Remote Jobs and Communities Program will see a more integrated and flexible approach to participation and employment services for people living in remote areas of Australia.
  • Jobseekers in each remote servicing region will be assisted by a single provider with a permanent presence on the ground.
  • The provider will work in partnership with the community to develop a Community Action Plan, which sets out employment, economic and community development goals.
  • Jobseekers will get personalised support from the single provider, so their skill development, participation activities and training meet their needs and better match local job opportunities
  • A new flexible $508 million Participation Account will provide funding to help people become job ready and participate in activities to benefit their community.
  • A $240 million Community Development Fund will support community development projects. These projects will be developed in consultation with the community and must provide employment and participation opportunities for local people.
  • The $89 million Remote Youth Development and Leadership Corps will fund 12,000 places over 5 years for young people aged under 25 to undertake a nine to twelve month program to get them job ready.
  • About 4000 people who are currently receiving grandfathered CDEP wages will continue to receive wages for the next five years including under the new program. These people have been participating in CDEP since mid-2009, most for a long period of time, and many face significant barriers to employment.
The three main programs currently delivering employment and participation services and community development in remote Australia - Job Services Australia, Disability Employment Services, Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) – will be rolled into the new integrated service.

Extending the Cape York Welfare Reform Trial

The Australian Government will extend the Cape York Welfare Reform Trial for 12 months, with a further $11.8 million to help Indigenous families budget, increase school attendance and job opportunities, make communities safer, and improve care and protection of children. We will also be calling on the Queensland Government to support continuation of Welfare Reform activities and to make a financial contribution.

Municipal and essential services for remote communities

A $43.4 million investment from the Australian Government will ensure about 38,000 Aboriginal people in approximately 350 remote communities across Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania will continue to receive support for municipal and essential services, including power, water and sewerage services, supplementing the efforts of State and Territory Governments.

Better infrastructure for the Torres Strait

With $21.2 million funding, people in the Torres Strait region will have access to better infrastructure including water projects, sewerage infrastructure, roads, and housing subdivision.

More help for Indigenous families to buy their own home


Over four years, the Australian Government will assist up to a total of 545 Indigenous Australians to buy their own home by merging its existing Indigenous home loan programs into a single Indigenous home ownership program, making best use of the significant investment the Australian Government provides for Indigenous home loans.

This will provide a flexible, approach to meet home ownership demand across all of Australia, and make best use of the significant investment the Australian Government provides for Indigenous home loans. We will continue to prioritise access to the new program for people seeking to move into home ownership on Indigenous land.

Free-to-air Indigenous television service

The Government is providing $63 million over four years for the Special Broadcasting Service Corporation to establish a free-to-air national Indigenous television channel for all Australians, which will be staffed predominantly by Indigenous people.

Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters

The Government will provide of $55.7 million to 2015-16 to better prepare children for school through a home-based parenting and early childhood program in 100 sites across Australia. The 50 new sites will be targeted towards communities with a high proportion of disadvantaged Indigenous Australians, and will be provided with on-going funding with the first cohort of children commencing from January 2014. The 50 existing sites will be delivered over two school years, 2013 and 2014.

Providing vaccines for pneumococcal disease

The Australian Government will invest $1.1 million over four years to provide around 6,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children each year access to an additional dose of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine preventing pneumococcal disease – Prevenar 13 – under the National Immunisation Program.

Teach Remote Stage 2

The Australian Government is investing $14.3 million over three years to attract and retain high-calibre teachers in remote areas, by expanding the Teach Remote program. This program supports teachers in remote schools, by strengthening recruitment, preparation, mentoring and professional development.

Expanding the Sporting Chance Program

A $4.8 million investment over three years will fund the expansion of the Clontarf Academies into New South Wales, using sport to engage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander boys in schooling. The investment will also fund strategies to promote school engagement amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls.

Extra aged care places for elderly Indigenous Australians

The Government is providing $30.6 million over four years to deliver an extra 200 aged care places for older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have high care needs so that they can stay close to home in culturally appropriate care. In addition, the Government is delivering $85.5 million over four years to assist with the higher costs of delivering aged care services in regional and remote Australia, including support for services to Indigenous Australians and older people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Regional and remote health care facilities

The Australian Government is investing $475 million for new and extended regional and remote health care facilities. This includes $48.6 million for 10 projects in regional and remote Indigenous communities which will deliver improved health care services.

Better and timely care delivered closer to home will lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment of illnesses, better management of chronic conditions and broader choice of health services.

Australian Public Service Indigenous Employment Strategy

The Australian Government is investing $1.8 million over three years to help achieve our target of increasing Indigenous employment in the Australian Public Service to 2.7 per cent by 2015.

Preserving AIATSIS collections

The Government is providing $6.4 over two years to continue to make digital records of the collections of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, which are of unique world significance and under threat from deterioration.

Constitutional Recognition

The Government is providing $10 million to a grass roots initiative to build community understanding and support for constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.
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