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Jacinta Price repeats calls for audit into Indigenous spending

Shadow minister for Indigenous Australians Jacinta Nampijinpa Price has repeated calls for an audit of government spending on First Nations programs on the back of the Federal Budget being handed down.

During the referendum campaign Senator Price first flagged an audit of spending on First Nations Australians, however the proposal failed to gain broader support with Labor, the Greens and the senator David Pocock opposed.

Following Tuesday's budget Senator Price repeated calls for a spending audit, claiming the Albanese government is doomed to make the same mistakes if it didn't probe the funding of Indigenous programs.

"It is a relief the government has listened to the coalition's call to leave the divisive direction of the Voice behind, and instead focus on practical measures and economic opportunity for Indigenous Australians," she said.

"We have been calling for this directional change for some time and look forward to investigating to see if there is any substance to this rhetoric."

Senator Price said without a serious examination of Indigenous spending, "expectations to improve Closing the Gap targets should be tempered".

She said if the Albanese government didn't examine what was working and what was failing, with Indigenous funding nothing would improve.

"So much has been spent in this portfolio over the years, there are game-changing lessons just sitting and waiting to be unearthed with a proper forensic examination," she said.

Senator Price also said there needed to be an audit to ensure funding was getting to those who genuinely need it most.

"I hear people calling for it everywhere I go," she said.

"The mayor of Alice Springs Matt Paterson has also called for an investigation, and as independent member Robyn Lambley said, "we'll still be talking about the same problems if there's not greater accountability for every dollar that's spent in this space".

Senator Price also raised concerns about the NT Remote Housing Agreement, and the Remote Jobs and Economic Development Program.

The Federal Government's new $774 million economic empowerment program was the backbone of funding for First Nations people in Tuesday night's Federal Budget.

Labor's previously announced Remote Jobs program is expected to create 3,000 employment opportunities for regional workers.

"When the Prime Minister used Binjari as a backdrop for his remote housing announcement and then drove off without meeting with the Binjari Aboriginal Corporation, alarm bells started ringing," Senator Price said.

"There are no minimum targets, and the Commonwealth is partnering with a Territory government that was still $500 million behind its previous remote housing agreement when the new one was announced."

Senator Price is also again calling for a Royal Commission into sexual abuse in remote Indigenous communities.

"We need a Royal Commission to bring this unfolding tragedy in our most marginalised communities to light. Like so much of what life is actually like in our remote communities, it is out of sight and out of mind to this government," she said.

Opposition leader Peter Dutton and Senator Price have repeatedly pushed for a royal commission into alleged child sexual abuse in Indigenous communities.

In October last year, 38 groups rejected the Liberal's call for a royal commission.

They included the WA commissioner for children and young people, Jacqueline McGowan-Jones; the National Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Wellbeing Research; Australia's first Indigenous senior counsel, Tony McAvoy SC; SNAICC; and Onemda Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Wellbeing.

"The safety of children should not be politicised or used as a platform to advance a political position," a statement said.

"It is frustrating and disappointing to hear the opposition leader and Senator Price repeating the same claims and calls they made earlier this year, again with no evidence and no credible solutions.

Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney hit back at Senator Price, saying she was "all over the shop".

"She says houses aren't being built quickly enough in remote communities in the NT, but they are now being built at twice the rate than under the Morrison coalition government," she told National Indigenous Times.

She also said the $500 million housing agreement had already been completed.


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