Tue, 24 Nov 2020

CANBERRA, Oct. 30 (Xinhua) -- The top economic adviser to the Australian government has called for an overhaul of the support system for indigenous Australians.

The Productivity Commission on Friday published a review of the Australia's indigenous support programs. It found that the programs were developed without adequate consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

The Australian government spends 35 billion Australian dollars (24.6 billion U.S. dollars) every year on indigenous affairs including education, health and welfare.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison in July announced an overhaul of the "Closing the Gap" scheme, which aims to address the disadvantages faced by indigenous Australians, that requires federal, state and territory governments to work with indigenous communities to achieve 16 targets for reducing disadvantage.

The Productivity Commission report accounted for the new agreement but said evidence supporting its approach was "thin."

"For decades there have been calls to better understand how policies and programs are affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people," it said.

"But while governments have designed and modified hundreds of policies and programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people ... the evidence about what works, and why, remains thin. And yet such evidence is central to designing effective policies."

The review was ordered by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg in April 2019.

It recommended a step-by-step review of whether money has been well spent to be conducted by a new independent body called the Office of Indigenous Policy Evaluation and an all-indigenous committee.

It cited the frustrations of indigenous organizations such as the Cape York Institute, which described the current system as "perverse" in its submission to the review.

"Evaluations of interventions that show clear and convincing outcomes in Indigenous affairs are few and far between... evidence about 'what works', including for whom, under what circumstances, at what cost and why, remains scant," it said.

"Given that the total spend on Indigenous affairs in Australia is nearing 35 billion AUD annually it seems perverse and a measure of the problems that under the current 'system' monitoring and evaluation does not improve results."

More Canberra News

Access More

Sign up for Canberra News

a daily newsletter full of things to discuss over drinks.and the great thing is that it's on the house!