Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Supplement to the Indigenous Expenditure report

The Australian Government today welcomed the release of the Supplement to the 2010 Indigenous Expenditure Report by the Productivity Commission.

The report is a key part of the Australian Government’s commitment to improving transparency on Indigenous expenditure across states and territories.

It follows the 2010 Indigenous Expenditure Report, released by the Productivity Commission in February.

The Supplement report splits Australian Government direct Indigenous expenditure across states and territories, and estimates total government Indigenous expenditure in each state and territory.

The Expenditure Report estimates the Commonwealth and State and Territory Government spent $40,228 per head of population on Indigenous Australians in 2008-09, compared to $18,351 for non-Indigenous Australians.

The Supplement shows that in 2008-09, 53 per cent of total government Indigenous expenditure came from State and Territory governments.

The Australian Government provided 47 per cent in direct expenditure on services and assistance to individuals, service providers, or local governments.

The Australian Government is working with the state and territory governments to close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage.

The Closing the Gap targets commit all governments to an overarching framework and hold them accountable to specific targets. This, together with our unprecedented investment, is beginning to make a difference, but the Government recognises that this work will take time and continued effort.

The Australian Government committed to the Closing the Gap targets because we knew that previous haphazard approaches to ending Indigenous disadvantage had not been good enough.

The Supplement also shows that the level of total government Indigenous expenditure varies across states and territories according to need.

For example, the comparatively high government expenditure in the Northern Territory across the areas of health, housing, and safe communities reflects higher levels of Indigenous disadvantage, greater service use and the cost of service provision in remote areas across the Territory.

Eighty per cent of Indigenous Australians in the Northern Territory live in remote or very remote Australia compared with 30 per cent of non Indigenous Australians.

It also reflects the increased delivery of services and programs by both the Australian and Northern Territory governments under the Northern Territory Emergency Response.

The Australian Government recognises we cannot close the gap alone. Closing the Gap requires a genuine partnership with Indigenous Australians at all levels and the Government is committed to a relationship based on trust and mutual respect.