Former Aussie leader blames funding for indigenous setbacks

An Australian prime minister who a decade ago set an ambitious timetable for ending indigenous disadvantage has blamed a lack of government funding for slow progress.

Kevin Rudd committed Australia to reducing the difference in life expectancies between Aboriginal and non-indigenous people on Feb. 13, 2008, when he made a historic apology to Australia’s indigenous minority for past injustices.

Rudd told the National Press Club of Australia on Monday that the conservative governments of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his predecessor Tony Abbott had failed to maintain funding for overcoming disadvantage. Rudd led two center-left Labor Party administrations, mostly recently in 2013.

Turnbull has denied cutting indigenous spending and criticized Rudd for setting targets and timeframes without consultation with indigenous leaders.

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