Long way to go before we close the gap

A review revealed last month that the Federal Government had “abandoned” long term goals for Indigenous parity five years ago.

A review revealed last month that the Federal Government had “abandoned” long term goals for Indigenous parity five years ago.

Today marks Australia’s annual “Closing the Gap” day where citizens come together to acknowledge the huge gaps in health and education outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The Federal Government last month released it’s tenth “Closing the Gap” report card on Indigenous disadvantage which proved we are a long way from parity.

Only three of seven targets, set out a decade ago to improve outcomes for Indigenous Australians, is on track to be met.

Those are to halve the gap in Year 12 attainment, improve early childhood education attendance and halve the gap in Indigenous child mortality rates.

Four of the seven targets were meant to be ticked off the list this year, but were never achieved.

Goals to improve numeracy and literacy and boost employment have expired without ever being attained. 

A review revealed last month that the Federal Government had “abandoned” long term goals for Indigenous parity five years ago. 

The Closing the Gap strategy launched in 2008, aimed to achieve health and education equality between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians by 2030. 

The 10 year review into the strategy showed long term goals were abandoned for short term gains, within five years. 

The review indicated a key policy failure was the lack of consultation with Aboriginal communities.

Reconciliation Australia CEO Karen Mundine said the establishment of an Indigenous voice to parliament would help close the gap. 

The Referendum Council last year proposed a constitutionally enshrined voice to parliament to empower Indigenous people to have a voice on laws and policies that affect them. 

The proposal was rejected by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who said it would fail at a referendum – despite polling showing it had support. Ms Mundine said “this is about more than setting targets. We need a structural solution to a structural problem”.

“It’s well known and accepted that a major contributor to policy failure is that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are left out of the design and decision-making process.”

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said while there had been "substantial progress" in improving the lives of Indigenous Australians he acknowledged there "is much more to be done".