Warren Mundine pretends concern on homelands

Mar 18, 2015, 10:36 PM

Warren Mundine wants answers on Indigenous Advancement Strategy funding decisions

Lindy Kerin reported this story on Wednesday, March 18, 2015 12:15:00

Listen to MP3 of this story ( minutes) | MP3 DOWNLOAD ELEANOR HALL: When the Prime Minister's chief adviser on Indigenous affairs meets Tony Abbott this afternoon, he says he'll have a few things to get off his chest.

Warren Mundine says he wants a detailed briefing about recent funding decisions under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy.

He says he will also have a bit to say about the Prime Minister's comments that remote Indigenous communities are a "lifestyle choice".

As the two meet today, more details are already emerging about the funding of Indigenous organisations.

Lindy Kerin has our report.

LINDY KERIN: Since the 1970s, the Bloodwood Tree Association in South Hedland in Western Australia's Pilbara region has run a crisis accommodation centre and drug and alcohol service.

The association's CEO Bob Neville says he applied for funding under the Federal Government's new Indigenous Advancement Strategy back in September.

BOB NEVILLE: We were advised by letter from the Minister that we were successful in our funding and then three hours later we were told, yes we were successful but out of $1.3 million over 2.5 years we applied for, we were successful for $208,000 and that the hostel would not be funded and we would have to close it.

LINDY KERIN: Bob Neville says there is another hostel in the town, but that's currently full, and with average rentals being about $1,100 a week, his clients will have nowhere to go.

He says the whole funding process has been frustrating.

BOB NEVILLE: We're in remote area, we're some 2,000 kilometres out of Perth in the Pilbara and nobody has bothered to speak to us at all about the hostels program, nobody has bothered to speak to us about the substance abuse program, they've just come and said nup, not funding, close the doors, see ya later.

If I could get a plane from here to Canberra, I think I'd be on that and I'd be going over there and talking to some of those senators because what they are doing is crucifying the Indigenous people here in the Pilbara.

LINDY KERIN: The National Congress of Australia's First Peoples recently called out to its members and organisations to get a clearer picture of the Government's funding decisions.

The Congress co-chair is Kirstie Parker

KIRSTIE PARKER: A very small number of them have indicated that they've received partial funding, most of them have said they've received no funding whatsoever.

We said to them what would be the likely impact on your organisation and they've told us that projects and programs and some organisations will be crippled, if not unable to continue, so they will be unviable as at the 30th of June.

This also means some essential services will cease in our communities, including services for women, for kids, educational initiatives, legal services and jobs, so in effect, there will be an obliteration of a very large chunk of the Indigenous community landscape.

LINDY KERIN: The Federal Government says 41 per cent of more than 2,000 organisations that applied for funding have been successful.

The World Today has sought specific information, but we've been told the details of each grant will be listed on the department of Prime Minister and Cabinet website within 14 days of the agreement taking effect.

Kirstie Parker says the new Indigenous Advancement Strategy has been a disaster.

KIRSTIE PARKER: We are hearing very high levels of frustration with the process and of course people will be upset and distressed and unhappy if the decision is an outright no.

Some are hanging in there because they've been told, look you're unsuccessful, but we'd like to talk to you about other opportunities.

Many of the people that have been told, or the organisation that have been told they were successful, have actually rece...