Canberra, Australia: The 2017 Federal Budget has been handed down with little new funding secured for long-standing priorities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
SNAICC CEO Gerry Moore urges the government to “refocus on prevention and work with States and Territories to fund Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community controlled organisations to deliver child and family welfare services.”
“Our services know our communities and know what is needed for our families to wrap care around each child, it’s always been our way,” Mr Moore said today. “We need leadership from the Federal Government to drive reforms through COAG to invest in our communities.”
Again, SNAICC calls on the government to:
- Invest in a national strategy and increased family support programs to address the gross over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in Australia’s child protection systems;
- reinstate the $534.4 million over five years funding cuts made to the Indigenous affairs budget in recent years;
- invest in genuine engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, including in the development and application of policy and programs through adequate funding of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples and other national peaks, including SNAICC and the NATSILS; and,
- commit further resources to grow the capacity and service delivery role for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations in the early childhood, and child and family support sectors.
While SNAICC does welcome the Budget’s confirmation of the secured $61.8 million annual funding for Budget Based Services in child care which may save and grow some services, this is still not the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander early years services system required to close the gap in child care placements and address the needs of our communities. The funding needs and sustainability concerns of Aboriginal Child and Family Centres and Aboriginal community controlled Multifunctional Aboriginal Children’s Services remain largely unaddressed.
“SNAICC remains open to further conversations with the Minister for Education and Training to build an integrated early years service system that is founded on the principles of self-determination, community controlled and grounded in the cultural resilience of our communities,” said SNAICC CEO Gerry Moore. “We need to build bi-partisan support to break the funding silos in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander early years sector which not only go across Federal Government Departments but also State and Territory jurisdictions.”
“For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children this is an unimaginative, meagre and mediocre budget.”
For media enquiries please contact Dr Peter Lewis, SNAICC Acting Deputy CEO, [email protected] (03) 9489 8099 / 0400 586 617
SNAICC is the national non-government peak body in Australia representing the interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. Founded in 1981, SNAICC was established to engage in activities that promote and accommodate a strong voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their families.
Over the past 30 years SNAICC’s efforts have resulted in many key milestones and achievements both in policy developments at state, territory and federal levels and in developing innovative and useful resources for the sector. SNAICC is governed by an influential Board of Directors made up of representatives from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled children and families’ services.