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Indigenous Affairs

The Government is committed to working more closely with Indigenous Australians on the priority areas of getting children to school, adults to work and making communities safer.

Indigenous Advancement Strategy

What is the Strategy?

The Government is committed to working more closely with Indigenous Australians on the priority areas of getting children to school, adults to work and making communities safer.

A new Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) began on 1 July 2014 and replaced more than 150 individual programmes and activities with five flexible, broad-based programmes:

The objective of the Strategy is to improve the lives of Indigenous Australians, with a particular focus on:

  • Getting Indigenous Australians into work, fostering Indigenous business and ensuring Indigenous people receive economic and social benefits from the effective management of their land and native title rights;
  • Ensuring  children go to school, improving literacy and numeracy and supporting families to give children a good start in life;
  • Increasing Year 12 attainment and pathways to further training and education;
  • Making communities safer so that Indigenous people enjoy similar levels of physical, emotional and social wellbeing as that enjoyed by other Australians;
  • Increasing participation and acceptance of Indigenous Australians in the economic and social life of the nation; and
  • Addressing the disproportionate disadvantage in remote Australia.

The new flexible programme structure will support a new way of working with Indigenous people, communities, industries, business and service providers, allowing for joint development of solutions that will work over the long term, including through regional or local solutions. Where appropriate, funded organisations will be expected to work closely with Indigenous communities in the design and delivery of projects.

The Strategy is being supported by the establishment of a new staff Network in PM&C. The PM&C Network will move to a regional model, so senior decision makers are located closer to the people and communities they will be working with. Staff in the PM&C Network will work closely with communities to develop and implement local solutions to improve outcomes in the Government’s priority areas.

Funding under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy

From 1 July 2014, organisations receiving grants of $500,000 or more in a single financial year from funding administered by the Indigenous Affairs portfolio within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet are required to incorporate under Commonwealth legislation. Find out more about the new incorporation requirements .

The Government has committed $4.8 billion over four years to the IAS. In addition, a further $3.7 billion has been allocated through National Partnership Agreements, Special Accounts and Special Appropriations. When taken into account, the total Indigenous-specific funding through the Prime Minister and Cabinet portfolio is $8.5 billion. A significant level of grant funding is also available through Indigenous-specific and mainstream programmes delivered by other agencies.

The IAS Guidelines apply to the $4.8 billion of programme funding over four years that is available under the five IAS programmes.

The Guidelines allow for a range of grant funding arrangements, such as open, competitive grant rounds, targeted or restricted grant rounds, direct sourcing or demand-driven approaches.

IAS funding round

An open, competitive grant round for funding under the IAS will open on Monday 8 September 2014 and close at 2pm AEST on Tuesday 7 October.

An Application Kit for the grant funding round will be released on the PM&C website on Monday 8 September, 2014.

The round will provide funding for activities that commence from January 2015 onwards (for calendar year funding) or from July 2015 (for financial year funding). It will provide the opportunity for those organisations with a current funding agreement expiring in the 2014-15 financial year to apply for future funding, and the opportunity for new organisations to apply for funding.  Funding agreements for successful organisations under the IAS will focus on the delivery of outcomes to Indigenous people.

Organisations will be able to apply for funding from one or more of the IAS programmes through a single application, and receive a single funding agreement from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Register your interest for updates to the IAS Grant Funding Round

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Indigenous Advancement - Jobs, Land and Economy Programme

This programme aims to get adults into work, foster viable Indigenous business and assist Indigenous people to generate economic and social benefits from land and sea use and native title rights, particularly in remote areas.

Indigenous Advancement - Children and Schooling Programme

This programme focuses on getting children to school, improving education outcomes including Year 12 attainment, improving youth transition to vocational and higher education and work, as well as, supporting families to give children a good start in life through improved early childhood development, care, education and school readiness.

Indigenous Advancement - Safety and Wellbeing Programme

This programme is about ensuring the ordinary law of the land applies in Indigenous communities, and that Indigenous people enjoy similar levels of physical, emotional and social wellbeing enjoyed by other Australians.

Indigenous Advancement - Culture and Capability Programme

This programme will support Indigenous Australians to maintain their culture, participate equally in the economic and social life of the nation and ensure that Indigenous organisations are capable of delivering quality services to their clients.

Indigenous Advancement - Remote Australia Strategies Programme

This programme will address social and economic disadvantage in remote Australia and support flexible solutions based on community and government priorities.

Indigenous Advancement Strategy – Questions and Answers

How will new arrangements affect current contracts and grants?

A contract extension process, completed in June 2014, has ensured continuity of services on the ground while the IAS is implemented. Most organisations who previously received long term funding, and whose funding was due to expire on 30 June 2014, received an extension of 6 to 12 months.

All other existing contracts will be honoured.

I previously received funding under one of the Indigenous programmes that were transferred to PM&C.  Can I still apply for funding under those former programmes?

No. From 1 July 2014, most of the Indigenous programmes and activities that transferred in to PM&C have been streamlined into five flexible, broad programmes that focus on the Government’s priorities of getting children to school, adults to work and making communities safer.  This means that funding under the legacy programmes is now no longer available, and organisations need to apply for funding from one or more of the five new Indigenous Advancement Strategy programmes. 

How does PM&C intend to ensure that smaller community organisations receive sufficient support to apply for IAS programme funding, noting they will be competing with much larger organisations? 

Under the new arrangements, organisations will need to submit fewer applications for funding and have fewer contracts to manage.  This reduces red tape and administration, making it far easier for smaller organisations to compete with larger ones. 

In addition, applications will be assessed on a number of criteria which consider how organisations will involve Indigenous communities in the development and delivery of projects, and employ Indigenous Australians.  Community organisations are likely to be well placed in this regard.

PM&C Network staff will be consulting with Indigenous communities and organisations in the lead up to the grant funding round.

How is the PM&C Network changing?

The Indigenous Advancement Strategy will be supported by the establishment of a new, regional Network structure in PM&C. Implementation of the new PM&C Network will occur progressively over the next 12-18 months.

The PM&C Network will be headed by a National Director, supported by Regional Managers, who will be accountable for delivering results on the ground.

The Network will move to a regional model rather than the current state and territory management arrangements, so senior decision makers are located closer to the people and communities they will be working with. Staff in the PM&C Network will spend more time engaging with communities to negotiate and implement tailored local solutions, designed to achieve results against government priorities.

How do I find out more information?

If you have questions about funding under the new Indigenous Advancement Strategy, and what it means for you, please contact your local PM&C office on 1800 079 098 in the first instance.  You may also send funding related questions to IASgrants@pmc.gov.au.

Last Updated: 20 August 2014