First look at how much Voice will cost
More than $10 million will be spent on mental health support for First Nations Australians during the Voice to Parliament referendum, Tuesday’s budget has revealed.
It’s part of a $364.6 million package – to be spread over three years from 2023-24 – to deliver the referendum, set to be held between October and December this year.
More than $336 million will be spent over two years from 2023-24 for the Australian Electoral Commission to deliver the referendum, including $10.6 million to produce information pamphlets for the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ cases for distribution to all Australian households.
The National Indigenous Australians Agency and the Museum of Australian Democracy will be given $12 million over two years for a neutral public civics education and awareness activities.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the money for mental health was crucial, given the “difficult impact” the ongoing debate about the Voice to Parliament was having on First Nations people.
“There are words that are used these days on social media and in other forms often anonymous … some of the things that are being said in this debate are hurtful,” Mr Albanese told ABC News.
“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 government will also extend a budget measure – introduced in Scott Morrison’s last budget – to fund progressing Regional Voice arrangements.