The Centre for Independent Studies research report 'Mapping the Indigenous program and funding maze' reveals almost $6 billion a year have been spent on more than 1000 Indigenous-specific programs across the country – over 90% of which haven’t been evaluated for effectiveness.
49 of those programs were run by the federal government, 236 by states and territories and 797 by non-government organisations.
The report also found widespread wastage and duplication, with the tiny New South Wales town of Toomelah, population 300, receiving services from over 70 providers.
The Prime Minister “has a real problem on his hands”, according to Geoff Scott, CEO of the Congress of Australia’s First Peoples.
“What we're facing here is the greatest social policy failure that the nine governments in Australia are facing,” he says.
“How bad does it have to get before we actually realise what crisis there is?”
Mr Scott has called for a national summit to better coordinate Indigenous policy.
“This level of expenditure's been around now for 20 years, even longer. That coupled with a lack of any real progress is a real indictment on everybody, and it's time that we had a real serious look at this, and actually started talking to each other,” he says.
“There's no coordination, the agencies don't talk to each other, the silos are still in place. There's a maze, and the complexity's enormous, and it doesn't need to be that way.
“We have to focus on what people see as the real solutions to their own communities.”