26 June 2017

The proposal torelocatestaff from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet responsible for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs to Alice Springs leaves more questions than answers. We have no idea what precisely is being proposed or what positions are proposed to be relocated to Alice Springs.

Of course, anything which will bring jobs to the Red Centre, and allow the public servants responsibleto bein greater contact and consultation with the very people they are seeking to deliver would be a positive move.

However, this proposal should not detract from the fact that nearlyall of theClosing the Gap targets are not being met.

Nor should it detract from the fact that this government has completely failed to consult with Australias First peoples.

Or that it has failed Australias First peoples in delivering an unfair Community Development Program scheme, which has seen participants penalised at amuch higherratethan mainstreamjobactiveparticipants.

Or that it has completely failed to deliver front-line services by implementing the Indigenous Advancement strategy, which has consistently failed to assess funding applications against department guidelines.

Furthermore, they have cut IAS funding by $500 million.

This Governments approach to Indigenous affairs has been a disaster, with a loss of local voice and local control.

Whether decentralising some staff in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet would actually do any good in the face of this governments profound and consistent failure in the portfolio is uncertain.