Gulanga Media Release: ACT Budget – more community control needed
2 August 2022
The ACT Council of Social Service’s Gulanga Program said that today’s ACT Budget responded to some of the calls from the ACT’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, but much more is needed to be done to improve outcomes for First Nations peoples in the ACT.
The 2022-23 ACT Budget, delivered by the Chief Minister and Treasurer Andrew Barr MLA, and which featured an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Budget Statement, announced measures including:
- Funding for the Aboriginal Legal Service to establish a Care and Protection Legal Advocacy Service for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
- Funding for the establishment of an independent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Commissioner
- Funding to support the continuation of Winnunga’s holistic model of health service delivery to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander detainees at the AMC
- Additional funding for the construction of new accommodation for the Gugan Gulwan Youth Aboriginal Corporation
- Investments in programs to reduce incarceration rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people; and
- Investment in implementing community-led, culturally appropriate responses to domestic violence in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.
Head of the Gulanga Program, Ms Rachelle Kelly-Church said: “While welcomed, these announcements follow a long period of inaction in implementing recommendations under the Our Booris Our Way and We Don’t Shoot Our Wounded [pdf] Reports.
“ACTCOSS and Gulanga have supported calls for the ACT Government to commit to a Commission of Inquiry or Royal Commission into the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the justice system. This ACT Budget has failed to address those calls.
“We also need to see significant increases in investment to establish and expand Aboriginal community-controlled organisations. We need to ensure there is a better distribution of funds so that new initiatives targeting our communities are delivered through Aboriginal community-controlled organisations – not just through ACT Government services.
“Time after time, experience shows that Aboriginal community-controlled organisations are best placed to support our community and achieve the improved outcomes that we are all desperate for.
“We also need investment to ensure that the services provided to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are culturally safe and respectful. The announcement of $12m for the implementation of Corrections ACT’s Blueprint for Change must include the delivery of mandatory Aboriginal cultural competence training for staff involved in our justice system so that we can challenge ongoing systemic discrimination and racism.
“Whilst this budget is a start for our Community, the ACT Government needs to do much more to support and fund Aboriginal community-controlled organisations to enable self-determination and better outcomes.
“We look forward to working with the ACT Government to direct more funding and support to Aboriginal community-controlled organisations that will in turn lead to better outcomes and real change for our community,” Ms Kelly-Church said.
For more information or comment, please contact
Dr Emma Campbell, CEO, ACTCOSS, on 0424 910 617 or 02 6202 7200.