Bureaucrats getting fat on programs designed to help blacks

ABORIGINAL politician Alison Anderson has slammed the massive increase in bureaucracy under the federal intervention into remote indigenous communities.

Ms Anderson, the independent member for the central Australian seat of MacDonnell, said the dramatic increase in red tape was impeding the development of remote economies and entrenching the welfare dependence in remote towns.

"More and more money is being wasted in bureaucracy," Ms Anderson said. "There is more and more whitefellas coming to talk to us and nothing gets done. "Money is being just poured into the bureaucracy and there are no outcomes.''

An investigation by The Australian has revealed a massive increase in the number of public servants employed in the NT since the intervention began, with the number of extra bureaucrats employed since 2007 almost equalling the number of front-line workers such as police, teachers and health workers.

But indigenous affairs minister Jenny Macklin has defended the intervention's progress, saying it was important to ensure public funds for indigenous services were used effectively and responsibly.

As well as an increase of 141 teachers, more than 60 police officers, and hundreds of nurses and doctors, schoolchildren were being fed properly at school and safe houses and support services for women and children had been expanded, Ms Macklin's office said.

Ms Anderson was a strong supporter of the intervention in its early days, in opposition to her colleagues within the NT Labor government who slammed the program as the "black kids' Tampa".

But the Aboriginal politician - who was the NT's Indigenous Policy Minister but quit the government in disgust at the wastage surrounding the $672 million Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program - has become deeply disillusioned with the direction of Aboriginal policy in the NT.

"I just think the intervention is finished, absolutely finished," Ms Anderson said. "Communities have actually gone backwards. There is no employment for indigenous people. It's all just training for the sake of training."


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