Government funding announced to strengthen the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled sector to close the gap

Ethan FrenchCoalition Of Peaks, Feature, News

A joint funding pool is being established by Australian governments to strengthen the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled sector to deliver vital services to communities and help deliver on the commitments of Priority Reform Two under the new National Agreement on Closing the Gap. 

The Commonwealth Government has announced an initial contribution of $46.5million over four years, with the Victorian Government adding an additional $3.3 million.

Lead Convener of the Coalition of Peaks, Pat Turner AM, said that the Coalition of Peaks welcomes the leadership of Ken Wyatt, the Commonwealth’s Indigenous Australians Minister, in establishing the fund.

“The Coalition of Peaks fought hard to put Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled organisations at the centre of the new National Agreement on Closing the Gap. They deliver better services for our people, get better outcomes, protect our cultures and employ more First Nations people in their home communities,” Ms Turner said.

“This new funding for the initial delivery of Priority Reform Two will help strengthen and build the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled sector to deliver additional services to First Nations people, including in new areas like housing and early childhood.” Ms Turner said.

“The joint funding pool complements the commitments in the National Agreement on Priority Reform Two which will also bring additional funding to community-controlled organisations over time and provide more jobs for First Nations people.”  Ms Turner said.

Chair of SNAICC – National Voice for our Children, Muriel Bamblett, said, “This initial funding is just a start. We thank the Victorian Government for their early commitment. The Coalition of Peaks are looking forward to all governments stepping up and making their contribution.”

The design and implementation of the funding pool will be done in partnership between governments and the Coalition of the Peaks. The principles of partnership underpin the National Agreement on Closing the Gap and demonstrate a new way of working between governments and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“The Coalition of Peaks are looking forward to working with all governments on agreeing priorities for the funding pool and making sure it delivers on what Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people say is needed to strengthen our services on the ground.” Ms Bamblett said.

The funding comes on the heels of the unveiling of the new National Agreement on Closing the Gap which was signed last week.

  The new National Agreement is built around four Priority Reform areas and outcomes:

  1. Shared decision-making: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are empowered to share decision-making authority with governments to accelerate policy and place-based progress on Closing the Gap through formal partnership arrangements.
  2. Building the community-controlled sector: There is a strong and sustainable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled sector delivering high quality services to meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the country.
  3. Improving mainstream institutions: Governments, their organisations and their institutions are accountable for Closing the Gap and are culturally safe and responsive to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including through the services they fund.
  4. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led data: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have access to, and the capability to use, locally-relevant data and information to set and monitor the implementation of efforts to close the gap, their priorities and drive their own development.

The Coalition of Peaks are also clear that much more additional funding is required to deliver on all the outcomes of the new National Agreement on Closing the Gap and are expecting that governments will make additional funding commitments in the future and through their Implementation Plans.

To read the full new National Agreement on Closing the Gap, head to the Coalition of Peaks website: https://coalitionofpeaks.org.au/new-national-agreement-on-closing-the-gap/

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