Increasing numbers of people were pretending to be Aboriginal in order to access benefits reserved for Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander people, according to Metro Local Aboriginal Land Council CEO Nathan Moran.
Moran told 2GB radio this week that “frauds” were targeting benefits meant for Indigenous people.
His comments came as TAFE New South Wales moved to tighten its approvals policy around student benefits to crackdown on fake Aboriginals.
The decision to insist on proof of Aboriginality, rather than a simple statutory declaration, follows Sydney University’s decision to implement a similar policy.
Students, as well as anyone employed in a position reserved for Indigenous people, would now be required to show proof of Aboriginality including confirmation through a local Aboriginal organisation or land council, a TAFE spokeswoman said.
The last Census results, published in June 2021, found a 25 per cent increase in Australians identifying as Indigenous.
“More people are ticking the box and identifying as Aboriginal than what have been born as Aboriginal,” Moran told 2GB.
“They're frauds. We have people who openly have no Aboriginal descent who, for whatever reason, have chosen to identify as Aboriginal.”
He said he was 'aghast' when he realised students were exploiting benefits reserved for Indigenous people.
“We’ve now got a large proportion, if not a quarter of our population, (who) have chosen to self-identify rather than being born as Aboriginal to take up benefits of housing, scholarships, universities, employment opportunities and programs that are targeted for us to overcome our disadvantage.”