The National Aboriginal Legal Service says its
loss of annual funding by a new Federal Government body is politically
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Service
(ATSIS), which was set up this month, has rejected an application
for $600,000 in funding for the National Aboriginal and Islander
Legal Services Secretariat (NAILSS).
Its Queensland branch, QAILSS,
has been assured funding for six months.
The Bidjara Group in
Charleville in south-west Queensland could lose funding of up
to $5 million.
NAILSS chairman Frank Guivarra says it is paying
the penalty after re-electing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Commission (ATSIC) deputy chairman Ray Robinson, despite a directive
from the Federal Government that it was a perceived conflict of
"Rightly or wrongly they voted for Ray Robinson,
re-elected him as chairman of this organisation," Mr Guivarra
"It seems as I've said in the past, we are
paying, NAILSS and its members are paying the price for that."
Guivarra says he believes the decision is politically motivated
because up until June Mr Robinson sat on the boards.
hearing it directly from the Minister or the hierarchy of ATSIS,
there is a political motive and if one reads the letter from ATSIS
there is a great sense of vindictiveness towards this organisation," he
Mr Robinson resigned from NAILSS in June.
a spokesman for Indigenous Affairs Minister Philip Ruddock rejects
claims it is trying to sideline Indigenous leaders but says it
is trying to address any perceived conflict of interest.
refused to comment on the funding process but says it will be
calling for tenders for the services provided by the legal service.