Saturday, September 05, 2015

NT spending Aboriginal-disadvantage money “as they see fit”

The Australian has recently run two front-page articles on the siphoning of CW money intended to remedy Indigenous disadvantage:

·        Amos Aikman, “Aboriginal cash siphoned” Australian 8 August 2015, and

·        Amos Aikman, “‘Close gap’ funds spent on desk jobs” Australian 5 Sep 2015.

In one sense, this is not an old story at all with Nicolas Rothwell having made the same point several times over recent years (Rothwell also has an editorial in the Australian 8 August 2015, “Scandal of underspending on Territory’s remote communities”, but it is something of a weary understatement).

Where the funds have gone to is, of course, the multi-billion dollar question.  According to the page four graphs in Amos Aikman’s article today (“‘Close gap’ funds spent on desk jobs” Australian 5 Sep 2015, the Northern Territory government has received about 25% of about $1.3bn in IAS grants.  That’s about $315m.  However, Aikman’s text has this as a paltry $31.5m.  Whether the decimal place was a subbing error or not, it is a convenient whitewash for the Northern Territory government.  Hence, my drawing attention to it ASAP. 

While this has to be a brief post, here I also point out the Northern Territory government’s apparent mea culpa in the earlier article (Amos Aikman, “Aboriginal cash siphoned” Australian 8 August 2015):

“A spokesperson for Territory Treasurer Dave Tollner . . .  argued state and Territory governments were free to distribute revenue as they saw fit”.


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