True colours: Indigenous affairs minister helps fund legal battle against land rights

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nigel scullion indigenous funding land rights

Nigel Scullion has approved almost $500,000 dollars to groups who are currently in court opposing land rights claims.

Indigenous groups have been outraged to learn that the Indigenous affairs minister has approved almost $500,000 of Indigenous Advancement Strategy funding to non Indigenous groups who are currently fighting against land rights claims in the Northern Territory.

From what has been reported by the Guardian News, a total of $485,000 has recently been given to the NT Amateur fishing association ($170,000), the NT Cattlemen’s Association ($165,000) and the NT Seafood Council ($150,000). Mr Scullion understands that the money will be used for those groups to pay for legal fees as they mount their case against the approval of claims for land rights.

Today the minister has been called out by Indigenous politicians, the Northern Land Council and grassroots movements such as Blackfulla Revolution who are up in arms over this clear misuse of funds. It has been reported that the money sent to these groups comes from the Culture and Capability division of the IAS which is set aside for conservation and cultural activities.

What we would like to know is how come this money can be approved so quickly for non-Indigenous groups but when the call comes from grassroots Indigenous activists, we are left to fund-raise money on our own. This is the case currently playing out in Western Australia where many Noongar men and women are opposed to the State Governments $1.3 billion dollar Native Title agreement. Similar calls for funding also went out when it came to funding nation to nation treaty talks and to increase representation by funding transport and accommodation for the Uluru summit in 2017. How come these requests for funding all fall on deaf ears?

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