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Closing Gap By Investing In Jobs And Housing

The Albanese Labor Government is making a landmark investment in new remote jobs and housing as part of the 2024-25 Budget. These practical measures will accelerate progress to close the gap.

Labor’s Remote Jobs and Economic Development Program is on track to start in the second half of 2024, and is all about self-determination through economic opportunity and community development.

The $777.4 million program will be implemented in partnership with First Nations people, build skills and experience, and deliver services that communities want. We are getting on with the job of replacing the CDP (Community Development Program) by creating 3,000 jobs in remote communities across Australia.

Tackling overcrowding by fixing housing

Too many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live in overcrowded and run-down houses. These crowded living conditions are driving poor health, educational, economic and social outcomes.

The Albanese Government is providing immediate support to the area of greatest need in remote Northern Territory, where the problem of overcrowding is most acute.

Our historic, ten-year commitment to improve housing in remote NT communities and make significant progress towards Closing the Gap, includes:

  • A ten-year $4 billion joint investment between the Australian and NT Governments to support delivery of up to 270 houses each year, and deliver repairs and maintenance to existing housing.
  • $120 million over three years to continue delivery of housing improvements and essential infrastructure upgrades to NT Homelands.
  • A Partnership Agreement, to be established between the Australian and NT Governments, Aboriginal Housing NT, and the four NT Aboriginal Land Councils.
  • $1 million to Aboriginal Housing NT over two years, to support their role in the Partnership Agreement, and support development of a Community-Controlled Housing Model.

Health and Wellbeing

The suicide rate for First Nations people is more than double that of non-Indigenous Australians. This is a national tragedy. The Albanese Labor Government will invest $12.8 million in suicide prevention, including the Indigenous Youth Connection Culture program (Suicide Prevention) for 12 communities.

$10 million has also been allocated in the 2024-25 Budget to maintain investments to the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) to deliver targeted and culturally appropriate mental health supports.

Additionally, the Albanese Government is investing:

  • $11.1 million over five years from 2023-24 to expand coverage of the Closing the Gap Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) Co-payment Program to all PBS medicines, broadening access to affordable PBS medicines for First Nations people living with, or at risk of, chronic disease.
  • $94.9 million over two years to support management of communicable disease control in First Nations communities.

The Government is particularly supporting the health and wellbeing of more First Nations women in this Budget, including $12.5 million over four years to NACCHO to facilitate community-led distribution of menstrual products in regional and remote First Nations communities where menstrual products are expensive and hard for First Nations women and girls to access.

Education

Quality school education for First Nations students to meet their full learning potential is a foundation for better life outcomes. The Government will ensure effective education investment, through genuine partnership, to improve education outcomes through:

  • $74.8 million over four years to develop a new National First Nations Education Policy, extend a number of First Nations education programs, and provide partnership funding to the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Corporation and SNAICC – National Voice for our Children.
  • $32.8 million over the 2025 school calendar year for the Clontarf Foundation to continue to school engagement programs for First Nations boys and young men.
  • $2.4 million over three years to implement the First Nations Teacher Strategy to increase the number of First Nations teachers in schools.

Justice

The Government is committed to working in partnership with communities to prevent crime, improve community safety and reduce the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults and children in custody. To build on the Government’s justice reinvestment initiatives, the Government will invest:

  • $76.2 million over five years to establish a new First Nations Prison to Employment Program.
  • $10.7 million to the Justice Policy Partnership, which will focus on reducing the rates of adult and youth incarceration and improving justice outcomes on the ground.
  • $15.4 million for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services and an additional $8.6 million to Family Violence Prevention Legal Services in 2024-25 to provide an urgent funding injection for legal assistance services, as part of the Attorney-General’s $44.1 million funding boost to the legal assistance sector.
  • $4.6 million in one year to ensure service continuity for the Custody Notification Service, while future design of the service is considered in collaboration with First Nations stakeholders.

Stronger families

The Government’s focus on strengthening families will seek to reduce the proportion of children in out-of-home care, which remains unacceptable. To deliver better outcomes for First Nations families, children and young people, the Government will provide:

  • $5.9 million over two years to establish of the National Commissioner for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Young People.
  • $11.7 million over two years to extend the First Nations Family Dispute Resolution Pilot.

A better, safer future for Central Australia

The Government continues to work in partnership with local communities in Central Australia and the NT Government to deliver the landmark plan for A Better, Safer Future for Central Australia, which was included in the 2023-24 Budget.

In addition to the $250 million Plan, the Government will increase its support by investing $18 million for a capital works fund to build new and improve existing boarding facilities in Central Australia for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from remote Northern Territory communities.

The Albanese Government is focused on working with First Nations communities to deliver better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

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