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Five-minute guide to the Federal Budget's key Indigenous measures

Tom Zaunmayr -

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Tuesday night handed down his pre-election Budget, with cost of living front-and-centre.

Key measures to address this included halving of fuel excise for six months and a one-off $250 payment to welfare recipients including pensioners, carers, students and veterans.

Low and middle incomer earners will also be in line for up to $1500 returned to their pockets at tax time.

Federal Indigenous Australians Minister Ken Wyatt said the government had committed more than $1.5bn to Indigenous issues in the budget, including $4.6bn for health programs over four years.

"These measures will help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people access better healthcare, stay safe, thrive in schooling and higher education and move into the expanding job market, to achieve better life outcomes and a stronger future," he said.

Beneath the headline measures were a host of announcements important to the lives of First Nations people. Here's a quick guide:

Ngurra Cultural Precinct: As revealed in January, #316.5 million will be spent building a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Precinct in in Canberra. The first two Indigenous woman elected will be honoured with statues in the Parliamentary Triangle.

Heritage Protection: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection measures will be modernised at a cost of $11 million.

Health: A national review of sepsis' impact on First Nations people will be undertaken and the national program extended under a two-year, $2.1m deal. $43.3 million will be spent this financial year to protect Indigenous communities from COVID-19 including purchase of RATS and oximeters. $2.4m for Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations in flood-affected communities. An extra 300 health scholarships for First Nations people will be offered through a $13.9m expansion of the Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarship.

Native title: Some $37.5m will be spent over five years to build capacity of prescribed body corporates in their efforts to gain greater economic benefits for native title holders.

Uluru Statement: $31.8m will be spent this year establishing 35 local and regional voice bodies to improve First Nations peoples' ability to have a say in public policy.

Justice: WA's youth engagement program will receive $2m over two years to help young Aboriginal people comply with bail conditions and court orders in the Kimberley and Pilbara. A one-year $1.9 million extension to the Custody Notification Services in Western Australia and the Northern Territory has also been funded.

Some $127.8m will go towards counselling to support victims of domestic violence. including behaviour change services for perpetrators. A further $30m will be spent protecting woman and children from violence, with a focus on at-risk First Nations youths.

Environment: A major $636.4m, six-year agreement will fund more than 2000 new Aboriginal rangers to manage their country.

Jobs: The Community Development Program will be replaced a new Remote Engagement Program under a five-year, $11.5m fund to identify pilots which support the new model. $21.9m will be spent getting more Indigenous people into leadership roles in business.

Top End: Several measures focusing on economic, social and health improvements in the NT will fall under a three-year, $183.7m funding deal. These include extending the National Partnership on the Northern Territory Remote Aboriginal Investment, transitioning administration remote community store licensing to the NT Government and helping peak Aboriginal bodies develop investment strategies.

Funding for the class action on behalf of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons who lived and worked in the Northern Territory between June 1933 and November 1971 who had their wages withheld.

A new $6.3 million boarding facility will be built in Tennant Creek for vulnerable students to attend school.


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