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Budget a mixed result for Indigenous people: ATSIC

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 12 May 2004


The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission's acting chairman Lionel Quartermiane says last night's Budget was a mixed result for Indigenous people with the Government adopting some of the organisation's key initiatives but still pushing ahead with the peak body's abolition.

The Federal Government is claiming a record spend on Indigenous affairs of $2.9 billion in the coming financial year.

But Mr Quartermaine says some of the money is going to initiatives originally conceived by ATSIC on family violence, women's development and home ownership.

He says it brings into question the Government's criticism of the organisation.

"I would like to know if everyone's saying that ATSIC has failed, please tell me where we've failed if the Coalition Government is actually taking on the initiatives of ATSIC," he said.

Reconciliation Australia says the Budget reaffirmed reconciliation as a defining issue on the national agenda.

The Federal Government has announced a $15 million injection into the organisation to meet its operating costs over the next four years.

The body's co-chairman Fred Chaney says any new Government framework on Indigenous affairs needs an independent organisation like Reconciliation Australia to provide alternative policy advice.


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