Senate inquiry finds funds for Indigenous Tasmanians not misused

A senate inquiry looking into the potential misuse of government funds for Indigenous Tasmanians has found there were no wrong doings. 

The Finance and Public Administration References Committee’s report on Commonwealth funding of Indigenous Tasmanians was released this week and found funds were being allocated fairly. 

The inquiry was moved by Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie to look at whether Commonwealth funds were unjustly allocated to and spent on a smaller proportion of the Tasmanian Indigenous population than they should be. 

Senator Lambie previously said previously that over the past decade, the funds were spent on 6000 Indigenous Tasmanians instead of almost 26,000.

Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre chief executive Heather Sculthorpe called the inquiry a “waste of time”. 

“The inquiry did confirm what we’ve always known, that Commonwealth Aboriginal affairs funding is based on need and not numbers as Senator Lambie alleged,” Ms Sculthorpe said. 

“In two decades there have been only two complaints to the Federal Human Rights Commission from people alleging they have been discriminated against by being denied Aboriginal services to which they are entitled.”

The inquiry received 13 submissions, including one from the Tasmanian government.

In its conclusion, the committee stated that the needs of Tasmania’s Indigenous community were met through mainstream services, Commonwealth and government funding. 

“The committee supports the current Commonwealth approach to determining eligibility for Indigenous service and programs,” the report said.

Senator Lambie said she has asked for a forensic audit of all the funds given by the Commonwealth to the Tasmanian state government and Tasmanian Indigenous organisations over the last decade.

She said this was the best way to know exactly where the tax payer’s funds had gone. 

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