Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will hand down his third budget tonight which may be the last one before the next federal election.
Australia’s 2021-22 Budget is highly anticipated following last year’s COVID 19 outbreak which saw everyone adapt to a world of lockdowns and isolation.
The ongoing pandemic has had a heavy impact on businesses and organisations with all but essential workers having to work from home or lose work altogether.
While the budget is still yet to be handed down, the Morrison Government has announced big spending on infrastructure, childcare, and aged care.
We are yet to see any First Nations specific money announced.
CEO of the First People’s Disability Network (FPDN), Damian Griffis says the Federal Budget needs to go towards realising Closing the Gap targets for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability.
He says they are looking for significant investment in the wellbeing of our community.
“FPDN has written to the Attorney-General about the need for an urgent extension to the Disability Royal Commission, and want to see confirmation of that tonight.”
“Both the National Disability Strategy and the National Disability Employment Strategy need to be fully resourced so that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability have an equal share of Australia’s wealth,” Mr Griffis said.
“Increased investment in the NDIS is essential, because far too many First People with disability still aren’t getting the vital supports we need, but we completely reject the proposed independent assessments.”
The Healing Foundation hopes tonight’s Federal Budget announcements will include greater support for Stolen Generations survivors and their descendants.
In a Pre-Budget Submission titled ‘Healing the Nation’ 2021-22, The Healing Foundation outlines the need for new funding for a range of initiatives to progress healing for Stolen Generations survivors.
These include, “reparations, tailored trauma-aware and healing-informed support for ageing and ailing Stolen Generations survivors, and better access to historical records for survivors; and a National Healing Strategy to address the impacts of intergenerational trauma.”
Fiona Cornforth is the CEO of The Healing Foundation and says the “need and the demand for trauma-aware and healing-informed expertise from The Healing Foundation has grown significantly” since the organisation was established in 2009.
“Significant new funding is required to cover existing programs and services – and to meet the demand for expanding these services and establishing new ones as the number of people who identify as Stolen Generations survivors rises dramatically.”
Ahead of tonight’s budget, the Morrison Government announced $353.9 million over the next four years to support the health and wellbeing of women, including funding for cervical and breast cancer.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said $13.7 million will go towards reducing the rate of preterm births in Australia which disproportionately affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.
Undumbi woman and post-doctoral researcher at Menzies School of Medical Research, Dr Tamara Butler is passionate about improving cancer outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Speaking with The Wire Radio, Ms Butler said she welcomes the announcement but hopes to see more focused support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women’s health.
“A lot of the support we’re seeing for Indigenous women is on a local level, driven by very passionate health professionals who are really keen to address the issues that they’re seeing on a local level.”
First Nations women experience a higher burden of cervical cancer than other women, but the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) is failing to meet their needs, resulting in many women not regularly participating in cervical screening.
Evidence from QLD indicates approximately one-third of Indigenous women regularly participate in cervical screening, compared to about two-thirds of non-Indigenous women.
“That funding announcement is quite welcome however we would like to see some really focused support in that budget to help support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to access screening,” Ms Butler said.