20
Jun
08

An educational fund negotiated from land rights

Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin has proposed a new way of conducting land rights negotiations:

If the landowners [north-west of the Territory] are prepared to establish an educational trust fund, which benefits children across the region and allocate at least 90 per cent of the projected benefits into the fund, the Australian Government will match them dollar for dollar up to a maximum of $10 million.

I posted a comment about this policy in November last year, located here.

During its first year of governance if the new Federal government can demonstrate a policy paradigm shift in this direction then it will be an important achievement. 

The potential benefits include: 

  • It can reduce the need for dependance of governments.  Funds and trusts have the capacity to generate new wealth where the interest gained is put towards opportunity (as opposed to regular deducations from the taxation pool);
  • by reducing dependence of governments the policy can influence political capital.  Reducing dependence of government expenditure helps diffuse a sense of division that results from over-stretching affirmative action and positive discrimination programs.  The proposed fund is a result of land rights negotiations.  Australians are generally comfortable with the fact that indigenous peoples have distinct rights to land but there is division as to the application of government-sponsored policies that divide on the basis of race.  This policy helps placate that division.  Electors also want to see more positive outcomes resulting from land rights negotiations.

This policy binds the nominal left’s ideals of positive value of identity, the emphasis of education and the nominal right’s ideals of economic responsibility and contemporary notions of equality.

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