Over the next five years $534 million will be cut from Indigenous programs administered by the Prime Minister and Cabinet and Health portfolios.
The budget papers show the savings will be made by replacing more than 150 programs, grants and activities with five broad-based programs under the Government’s new Indigenous Advancement Strategy.
The programs will be: jobs, land and the economy; children and schooling; safety and wellbeing; culture and capability; and remote Australia strategies.
More than $160 million of the cuts will come out of Indigenous health programs. The health savings will be redirected to the Medical Research Future Fund.
The cuts include a $3.5 million cut to the Torres Strait Regional Authority.
The budget papers state that the cuts are being made to eliminate waste and duplication.
On top of the program cuts the Government has confirmed the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples will not get $15 million earmarked for the representative body over the next three years.
Funding for Indigenous language support announced in the last budget will also be cut by $9.5 million over five years.
Opposition Indigenous affairs spokesman Shayne Neumann says Tony Abbott can no longer be considered the Prime Minister for Indigenous Australia as “the close the gap strategy is in tatters”.
Mr Neumann has also criticised the Government for failing to make any commitment to the National Partnership Agreement for Indigenous Early Childhood Development.
Mr Neumann says without extra funding it is likely that 38 Indigenous childhood development centres across the country will close.
A statement from Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion’s office says the 2014-15 budget invests $4.8 billion on the new program priority areas under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy.
New funding announcements include $54 million allocated to police stations to be built in seven remote Indigenous communities in Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia over the next four years.
Thirteen million dollars has been allocated over the next four years establishing 3,000 places for Indigenous students to take part in the Clontarf Foundation sports academy program.
There will be changes to the National Partnership Agreements that have controlled how the states and territories share spending in specific areas in Indigenous affairs.
The agreement on remote service delivery will be replaced by a new Remote Community Advancement Network and bilateral agreements with each state and territory.
Funding for Stronger Futures programs in the Northern Territory will be revised in collaboration with the Territory Government.