Shadow Treasurer and Member for Mulgrave, Curtis Pitt, says the Newman Government’s latest funding cuts will cost jobs in Indigenous communities just weeks after the Premier promised no more sackings.
“Savage cuts to the funds supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander councils will mean job losses in Indigenous communities despite the Premier promising in December there would be no more job cuts from his government,” Mr Pitt said.
He said Local Government Minister David Crisafulli should identify the support he planned to give the state’s Indigenous councils in the Gulf and Cape York; Torres Strait; and Central and Southern Queensland after withdrawing funding.
“Unlike other local councils, nearly all Indigenous councils do not have a rates base generating a revenue stream,” Mr Pitt said.
“So if the Minister is taking the axe to financial grants it is essential for him to say what will replace them in terms of other support.
“The Palm Island Shire Council alone has said it could lose $300,000 a year and it will have to sack workers and defer infrastructure projects.
“What is worse is the fact the government claims it is cutting these funds to help councils become ‘more self-sufficient’ but cannot say what specific incentives will replace them.
“In other words, the LNP has cut a large slice of funding for ATSI communities and expects them to make up the difference without any tangible support from the government.
“It is starving them of funds and not offering any alternative assistance.
”Mr Crisafulli is reportedly insisting on ongoing budget cuts from 2013-14 to 2015-16.
“The government is either incompetent or just plain callous if it imposes budget cuts on these regional councils without first explaining what extra support will make up the shortfall.
“It highlights the LNP government’s twisted priorities and shows how little the LNP cares for people in regional communities.
“Why does it make these deep cuts to Indigenous communities but can find plenty of money to splash out $120,000 on 200 new chairs; can pay a Director-General more than $200,000 to stay at home; and manages to find $3.5 million to start planning a new Executive Building in the Brisbane CBD for the Premier and Ministers like Mr Crisafulli?” Mr Pitt said.