Indigenous money sink

NOEL Pearson's Cape York welfare reform trial has been a dealt a blow with the Queensland government refusing federal demands to extend state funding beyond the end of the year.

Queensland Indigenous Affairs Minister Glen Elmes told The Australian the Newman government could no longer justify its expenditure on the program.

The trial in four Cape York communities has cost the state and federal governments more than $100 million.

The government mentions there are only a few thousand people involved altogether so what the hell costs $100 million.  If I went to theses communities would I see anything ...roads...new schools..what exactly? The report tells us that school attendance is improving and kid bashing is down;

Last year, preliminary findings of the review of the trial -- which links welfare to school attendance, child safety, tenancy and convictions -- found the communities were recording improvements in attendance and falling child-protection notifications.

But it doesn't say what the money was actually spent on but Queensland Indigenous Affairs Minister Glen Elmes questions the value for money;

"We simply can't justify the rate of expenditure over the past four years in just four communities, with only a few thousand people,"

I'm all for helping Australians in difficult times and I have always agreed with Christopher Pearson and his programs but hell, $100 million for four communities seems over the top to me. Tony Abbott wants to see these indigenous welfare reforms now being tested in Cape York expanded to communities across the country.  I trust any continuation doesn't involve $25 million per community - he'll never clear the ALP debt at that rate.  

6 comments

    • Yeah, noticed that.  I’m all for programs such as these but I’m having trouble with the amount being spent for just four communities.  On the face of it I think Elmes has a point and I’d expect Abbott to say “Hey Noel, why $100 million and exactly what has it been spent on?

      • A 10% reduction in the prison population in NSW would lower costs to the taxpayer by $23 million per annum.
        There’s no reason to believe Queensland would be any different. Given the incarceration rate of the indigenous population, the outlay on these community programs may not be such a bad idea on a cost-benefit basis.
        See – http://lawlink.nsw.gov.au/lawlink/bocsar/ll_bocsar.nsf/vwFiles/CJB138.pdf/$file/CJB138.pdf

        • A reduction of incarcerated criminals would no doubt reduce the over expenditure on keeping them there.  Goes without saying and I agree with you……much too much money is expended keeping prisoners in prison, but while we have people like you insisting that prisons should be like university accomodation with all the extra necessities of television, computers and luxuries not found in everyday homes, that won’t change.  Person in prisons are almost always not first offenders. The exception is where the first offence is of such a heinous category that a jail sentence is the only acceptable answer.  Sentencing is a matter dealt with by Magistrates and Judges with years of experience and is a matter given much consideration before the liberty of an offender is taken from him. 
          People like you continually harp on about the numbers of indigenous persons in the system, purely by referencing numbers by percentage of indigenous persons compared to others within the jail system.  Do some study on the propensity of indegenous persons likely to be repeat offenders where the courts are placed in a position where incarceration of the offender is considered the only option left in sentencing.  Do you really believe that Magistrates and Judges are not looking for another answer, considering that they are the ones ultimately responsible for sentencing, and are constantly under criticism of “educated” armchair lawyers such as you?  

        • A 10% reduction in the prison population in NSW would lower costs to the taxpayer by $23 million per annum.

          You are talking about the entire state of NSW – I’m talking about spending $100 million in four small communities in Qld.

          I’m not questioning the need for programs to help the indigenous – what I am questioning is the sums involved.   People spending public monies tend not to spend same in a judicious manner.  “Plenty more where that comes from” as politicians throw money indiscriminately at problems to prove their compassion to the voting public.  I would also like them to prove their financial acumen to the voting public.

          I might be totally wrong as I can’t see any breakdown of costs but I might be correct to question it.

          I’ve seen first hand millions spent on indigenous commercial enterprises where money is spent on infrastructure but none on educating people to be able to run such commercial enterprises.

          From a trip to Nulunbuy;

          We visit a crocodile farm that was set up as a tourist enterprise but looking very sad when we were there. One pond, greenish in colour and about 15 foot in diameter erupts when a young fellow throws a stone into the water. A croc as long as the pool was wide leaps out and frightens hell out of me and the others.

          No tourists in site

        • Whilst that may or may not be true, that cost is met by the NSW taxpayer and, by hypothetical extension, the Qld taxpayer. why should the federal Govt carry the cost of mitigating it?
          If programs such as this are so cost effective (they aren’t in the real world), then the state Govts would be all over funding them.
          As a matter of comparison, you could easily, with total certainty, and far more cheaply, reduce the prison population by reintroducing the death penalty, it may even have a deterrent effect on some criminals.

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