As part of our plan for a stronger future, the Morrison Government is delivering a raft of Indigenous portfolio measures in the 2022-23 Budget to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people economically, from creating more jobs and wealth-building programs, to elevating Indigenous voices across Australia.
“The Morrison Government has embarked on one of the most ambitious Indigenous policy reform agendas, focusing on empowering Indigenous Australians, creating jobs, building skills, and unlocking the economic potential of Indigenous land,” Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt said.
“Alongside our priorities under Closing the Gap, we are making strong headway on the National Roadmap for Indigenous Skills, Jobs and Wealth Creation, building the capacity of Prescribed Bodies Corporate, progressing the establishment of Indigenous Local & Regional Voices and reforming the Community Development Program.
“It’s all part of our new partnership approach. We are deepening partnerships with Indigenous Australians, ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices inform the policies and programs that affect them.
“Today we are announcing a number of new initiatives on top of an expanded Indigenous Advancement Strategy, which now sits at $6.7 billion over the forward estimates.”
To create more jobs while caring for Country and build skills, as well as bolstering disaster resilience and recovery, the Morrison Government is going to more than double the highly successful Indigenous Ranger Program.
$636.4 million will fund an estimated 2,000 additional ranger jobs in regional and remote Australia, providing long-term economic opportunities and environmental outcomes.
The funding out to 2028 will establish new ranger groups, bring more Indigenous women into ranger work, and provide pathways for young people as well as broadening opportunities to develop fee-for-service opportunities. These additional ranger jobs will take the total program to approximately 3,900 ranger jobs by 2028.
“It will address the unmet demand for cultural burning and other Indigenous land management expertise in areas outside of the current ranger footprint and also help Australia meet a range of international environmental commitments,” Minister Wyatt said.
With more than 50 per cent of Australia’s land mass now covered by Indigenous rights and interests, $37.5 million will go towards strengthening the governance of Prescribed Bodies Corporate (PBCs), which manage the interests of native title holders.
This funding will establish a PBC Steering Group, expand the PBCs training package delivered by the National Native Title Council to upskill directors and staff members, and support the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations to undertake their new native title regulatory role.
Indigenous leadership and governance continues to be a priority, and a $21.9 million package already announced will allow the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience to expand, the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations to develop governance training materials, and the National Indigenous Australians Agency to provide scholarships for emerging Indigenous leaders to undertake company directors’ courses.
Consistent with the Indigenous Voice Co-design Process Final Report, the Morrison Government has committed $31.8 million for the first year to support the required preparatory work to design Local & Regional Voice structures.
$1.9 million will extend Custody Notification Services (CNS) in Western Australia and the Northern Territory by one year as well as funding an evaluation of CNS in all jurisdictions to inform a best practice model for all states and territories to implement.
The Remote Engagement Program is also progressing, with the rollout to now occur in July 2024 following a full and genuine co-design process. Community Development Program participants will be supported with an additional $98 million to account for the higher caseload resulting from the pandemic.
The Indigenous Business Australia’s Indigenous Home Ownership Program (IHOP) will also be extended by two years to 2024-25, at a cost of $7.7 million. This will support 1,000 jobs in regional Australia for another two years and support around 1,600 Indigenous families to access home loans and either enter the housing market, or build their own homes.
The 2022-23 Budget measures build on the Morrison Government’s long term commitment to Closing the Gap, and providing a stronger future for Indigenous Australians.
In August 2021, $1 billion in new measures was committed as part of the Commonwealth’s Implementation Plan for Closing the Gap, and in January this year, $316.5 million was allocated to building Ngurra, a new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural precinct in Canberra.