Sydney, Australia. While Australia has devoted billions of dollars to improve the welfare of its native population, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, special reporter on the rights of indigenous peoples at the UN, has said good intentions are being offset by poor policy.
Native Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are near the bottom of every social and economic indicator, which creates tensions in the communities belonging to the world’s longest continuous civilization.
Australia’s efforts to improve the lives of its impoverished native population is being undermined by a centralized, bureaucratic aid program delivered in inappropriate ways, a United Nations official said on Monday.
A spokesperson for Australia’s Senator Nigel Scullion, the minister for native affairs, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the remarks, made to reporters.
UN official Tauli-Corpuz was critical of Australia’s decision to channel aid through the office of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, describing the process as “bureaucratic, rigid and wasting considerable resources on administration.”
Continuing her assesment of the situation Tauli-Corpuz added, “The compounded effect of these policies has contributed to the failure to deliver on targets in the areas of health, education and employment,” Tauli-Corpuz said in Canberra at the end of a two-week visit to Australia.
Australia has freely admitted it is falling short of almost every target to improve the lives of its native population, from reducing the infant mortality rate, to getting children into school and adults in jobs.
The Australian native Aborigines face a 10-year gap in life expectancy versus other Australians and make up 27 percent of the prison population, but are only three percent of the population.