The federal government will spend more than $10 million on boosting mental health support for First Nations people during the Voice campaign.
- The PM says the Voice campaign is having a “difficult impact” on First Nations people
- “Some of the things that are being said in this debate are hurtful,” he said
- $10 million will be spent on delivering Yes and No information pamphlets to every Australian household
The funding is part of a $364 million package to deliver the referendum on whether to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the constitution through a Voice to Parliament.
Most of the money is for the Australian Electoral Commission to facilitate the referendum process, including $10 million to deliver Yes and No information pamphlets to every Australian household.
The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation will receive $10 million to support the mental health of First Nations people during the campaign, which is expected to run between October and December.
Another $500,000 will be given to the Australian National University’s Mayi Kuwayu research team to monitor the wellbeing of communities during this time.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told ABC News Breakfast the federal government was aware of the “difficult impact” the campaign is having on Indigenous Australians.
“Some of the things that are being said in this debate are hurtful,” he said.
“We’re very conscious of the pressure which Indigenous Australians will be under.
“We know that when the postal ballot was held on marriage equality, then people in that community felt under pressure as well, and we have been conscious about that.”
The National Indigenous Australian Agency (NIAA) and the Museum of Australian Democracy will be given $12 million to create politically neutral educational materials about how to participate in the referendum.
Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney has said broad education around Australia’s constitution is needed, partly because many people will not be familiar with the referendum process.
“For many Australians this will be the first referendum they’ve ever participated in, and it’s crucial they have the facts to make an informed decision,” Ms Burney said.
Another $5 million has been allocated to the NIAA for consultation, policy and delivery in the lead-up to the referendum.