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Making indigenous poverty history? Not this Government

"Annual funding for Indigenous health has increased by over $270 million or by more than 170 per cent in real terms since 1996."

- Opening paragraph of press release on indigenous health budget initiatives, Tony Abbott, 8.5.07

Golly gee. Fair bit of good that has done, as I have already noted.

The Department of Health and Aging budget statement on indigenous health can be read in full here.

The Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough, has released a statement outlining $815 million in new and extended funding over the next five years on indigenous initiatives.

Brough crows thus:

"...These measures have a net fiscal balance impact of $748.3 million. This will take total spending on Indigenous specific programmes to a record $3.5 billion in 2007-08 - 42 per cent more in real terms than Labor spent in its last year in office."

And what indeed is the significance of the last statement?

Oxfam Australia and NACCHO have issued their response today. "Aboriginal Australians die 17-years less than other Australians and the sad reality is that an increase in health spending of around $120 million over four years won’t close that gap." Their statement can be read in full here.

Remember, the Government is, at the same time, putting $5 billion into a perpetual fund to build "capital works and research facilities" at universities. (source: Minister for Education)

Priorities. Priorities.