The opposition has slammed the South Australian premier’s Aboriginal Affairs Action Plan as little more than “a collection of dot-points” after its release this week.
Steven Marshall, who swept into office in March and broke the Labor Party’s 16-year hold on power, axed the treaty process and placed an emphasis on policies he said would deliver more “measurable outcomes” for Aboriginal communities.
The SA Liberal Party leader said he preferred “practical outcomes” to the “symbolic action” of treaty.
But Kyam Maher, the shadow Aboriginal affairs minister, has criticised the premier’s new plan.
“The vast majority of things in there had already been started or funded under the previous government," Mr Maher told NITV.
“Increased employment and economic activity, these are things that are good. These are all very, very worthy aims. But again, in most places these are things that are already underway.
“It just seems to be a glossy brochure of things government is already doing released for a good news story at the end of the year.”
The premier, who is meeting with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and other state premiers in Adelaide today for COAG, released the “Action Plan For Aboriginal Affairs” on Monday promising it would deliver “practical” results for the states’ Aboriginal people.
“We are delivering on a plan which demonstrates the new government’s commitment to making a real improvement to the lives of Aboriginal South Australians,” the premier said.
In an outline of the report, Mr Marshall said it offered “measurable” outcomes which aimed to build capacity among Aboriginal communities.
Included among the 32 specific activities are plans to encourage greater employment of Aboriginal people in areas that include the states’ fisheries, pastoral production, Aboriginal rangers and law enforcement.
Other areas of interest include “one-stop-shop” health policies to curb the spread of serious diseases among regional communities and an Aboriginal business strategy to create at least five start-ups in areas such as IT and manufacturing.
The plan also calls for work to “develop a model to facilitate and enable better engagement between the government and Aboriginal communities, and for Aboriginal voices to be more represented in government decision-making.”
“A couple of years ago the Labor government conducted the biggest consultation with Aboriginal people and the Aboriginal community, and the result was that treaty was the biggest piece of unfinished business for Aboriginal people,” Mr Maher said.