Coalition Widens the Gap with large-scale job cuts in Indigenous Affairs

The Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government has cut more than 100 jobs serving Indigenous communities around Australia, underlining the Coalition’s empty promises around Closing the Gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

An analysis by the Community and Public Sector Union of official staffing figures shows 100 jobs in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet have been slashed from regional and metropolitan areas outside of Canberra since June 2015, with a further 75 positions cut in the ACT.

Prime Minister and Cabinet had no staff based outside of Canberra until Indigenous Affairs was moved into the department in 2013, indicating the vast majority of job cuts have fallen in this critical policy area.

CPSU Deputy National President Brooke Muscat-Bentley said: “Prime Minister Scott Morrison seems to think that a speech once a year and appointing Tony Abbott as Special Envoy for Indigenous Affairs is all he needs to do for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It’s disgraceful that while Mr Morrison is paying lip service to Closing the Gap, his Government has been slashing scores of Indigenous Affairs jobs around the country.”

“These job cuts in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet mean this Government has slashed more than one in 10 jobs in Indigenous Affairs in less than four years. These cuts have hit some parts of the country particularly hard, with the Government slashing 40 jobs from the Northern Territory alone.”

“These job cuts are a double body blow for Indigenous people. Clearly this has an impact on the important services that Indigenous Affairs provides, but these positions that have been cut were also desperately needed permanent, quality employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”

“Indigenous Affairs is the agency tasked with running the critical Closing the Gap initiative, so the Prime Minister shouldn’t pretend for a second that this Government is serious about reducing Indigenous disadvantage. Tony Abbott is absolutely not the answer to this problem.”

“Indigenous Affairs runs a huge number of programs with just a few hundred staff in a really diverse range of areas, from community safety to health and employment. A good government would restore these jobs immediately as a first step to making the wellbeing of Indigenous people a national priority in reality not just in political rhetoric.”