Hillsong dumped from funding arrangement

AAP, Australian/February 17, 2006

The Hillsong Church's benevolent arm has been dumped from a second federal funding relationship amid claims it spent indigenous development grants on itself, rather than on the Aboriginal entrepreneurs for whom it was intended.

Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) has announced it would cease funding a "micro-enterprise development" program that paid Hillsong Emerge $965,421 to administer $280,000 in loans, The Australian newspaper reports.

The news comes after Hillsong Emerge was stripped of a $414,479 grant for crime prevention after claims it obtained the funds by deceiving the Aboriginal community that was supposed to benefit from it.

NSW Labor MP Ian West said IBA's decision to stop funding the program was "a good start".

"IBA and taxpayers shouldn't fund Hillsong's hubs either - we should ask for our money back," he was quoted as saying.

Hillsong spokeswoman Maria Ieroianni told the paper Hillsong Emerge respected IBA's decision to terminate the funding relationship.

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