Last week marked ten years since the first Close the Gap report was initiated.
“The Close the Gap campaign's goal is to close the health and life expectancy gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians within a generation.”1
As leaders from across the country gathered in Canberra to discuss and evaluate outcomes, it became clear that the progress is slow. In some areas, it even appears to be going backwards.
“Governments at all levels continue to fail Australia’s First Peoples. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s most recent Close the Gap report to Parliament, in February 2017, was not good news. Most of the Close the Gap targets are unlikely to be met by 2030,” Patricia turner, co-chair of Close the Gap Campaign and CEO of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation wrote in an opinion on piece on SBS.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander continue to face disadvantages in areas such as education, employment, and health, and the government has implemented several initiatives to close the gap between Australia’s Indigenous population and non-Indigenous Australians.
However, only one out of the seven targets set out to close the gap appears to be on track to be met.
“We cannot shy away from the stark reality that we are not seeing sufficient national progress on the Closing the Gap targets,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said, according to News.
One of the targets of the Close the Gap initiative is to close the employment gap. Currently less than half of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at a work-ready are participating in the workforce. This target is one of the ones that are not on track.
Employment is crucial to strengthen the Indigenous economy, which will also help improve social issues Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are facing.
“We’ll work to ensure that the Close the Gap initiatives are community-driven and recognise that indigenous leaders are absolutely central — paramount — to finding the solutions in a way that supports identity and wellbeing,” Mr Turnbull said, according to News.
National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples co-chair Jackie Huggins told the audience in Canberra that “Indigenous organisations are seeking a new relationship, a genuine partnership and a commitment to ongoing structural engagement.”
Continue conversations dedicated to the how to's of driving economic independence for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities at Akolade's 4th National Indigenous Economic Development Forum being held in Cairns on the 28-30 June 2017!
Written by: Mimmie Wilhelmson
Mimmie grew up in Sweden and first came to Australia as a backpacker after high school. After travelling around the country for two years she returned to Europe and pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism in London. But the longing for Australia and the sun became too strong. After having worked for some time in the media industry, Mimmie decided to make a change and swap the news for conferences. She now gets to do what she loves the most, meeting new people and keep learning about cultures and issues while producing conferences on current topics.