More work needed to Close the Gap
The Closing the Gap Annual Data Compilation Report, released today, provides new information for nine socio-economic targets within the National Agreement on Closing the Gap. The assessment of these targets paints a mixed picture, and emphasises the need for more resources to finally Close the Gap in life outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.
While targets relating to the healthy birthweight of babies, enrolment of children in preschool, youth detention rates, and land mass subject to rights and interests are on track, many are not. Children commencing school being developmentally on track, out-of-home care, adult imprisonment, deaths from suicide, and sea country subject to rights and interests all need work.
“We only have 8 years left of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap. That’s 8 years to meet every target, not just some of them. This report should instil a sense of urgency in everyone working on Closing the Gap activities”, said Lead Convener of the Coalition of Peaks, Patricia Turner AM.
“The ‘gap’ isn’t an abstract concept. It is measurable and still significant. There is still a gap in the life outcomes that are important for our people’s wellbeing – in areas such as education, health and wellbeing, employment, access to land and waters, interaction with the criminal justice system, and the strength of our cultures and languages.
“The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Organisation sector is on the ground in communities, doing what they can, but without more action from our government partners – particularly when it comes to appropriately resourcing the sector (Priority Reform Two) and transforming mainstream organisations so that our people feel comfortable accessing them (Priority Reform Three) – we won’t see much movement on the socio-economic targets.
“We appreciate that it is early days for the data and some of these results need to be viewed with caution, however the latest figures don’t bode well”, Ms Turner said.
Find out more about the National Agreement on Closing the Gap and its targets at www.coalitionofpeaks.org.au