The Australian Greens have raised concerns that announcements for increased funding to the NT through Stronger Futures are being partly delivered through cuts to national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander programs.
"Our initial review of Tuesday's budget indicates that a number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander programs around Australia have been cut or suspended, with their funding redirected to NT Stronger Futures programs," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues said today.
"We are very supportive of secure, long term funding for the Northern Territory, but it should not come at the expense of existing national programs.
"It is also disappointing that this much needed funding is being delivered through the flawed Stronger Futures program.
"So far, we have found that at least $145 million over four years is being taken out of national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander programs and redirected towards Stronger Futures.
"These cuts include $23.9 million from Indigenous Law and Justice Programs, $19 million coming out of the Native Title Tribunal, $56.3 million from Closing the Gap Literacy and Numeracy Programs and $50 million from two nationwide educational programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth.
"To make matters worse, in a number of areas in the budget papers for Stronger Future measures the papers say NFP – not for publication - for out year expense measures after 2012-2013.
"Cutting and suspending national programs to transfer funding is a poor outcome for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
"Reconciliation, equality and efforts to close the gap must continue at a national level and need new funding investments, rather than cuts to programs for one group of Aboriginal people to fund another group," Senator Siewert concluded.