26 September 2023

‘Closing the Gap’ Report has mixed success

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The first annual report on Australia’s ‘Closing the Gap’ targets has found mixed results with only four socio-economic targets on track and 14 targets worsening or not on tack.

Commenting on the National Indigenous Australians Agency’s (NIAA) report, the Minister for Indigenous Australians, Linda Burney said the Commonwealth Closing the Gap Annual Report 2022 was the first annual report since the launch of the 2020 National Agreement and Commonwealth Closing the Gap Implementation Plan – released in August 2021.

Ms Burney said only four of the 18 socio-economic targets were on track.

Of the four targets on improving or track, she highlighted babies born with a health birthweight (86 per cent) and children enrolled in preschool (96.7 per cent).

Among the targets that have worsened or were not on track are children being preschool ready (34.3 per cent), adults in prison (2,222 per 100,000), children in out-of-home care (57.6 per 1,000) and deaths by suicide (27.9 per 100,000).

“The numbers in the Annual Report tell an important story – a story of mixed progress,” Ms Burney said.

“We see heartening progress in areas like babies born with a healthy birthweight and children enrolled in preschool,” she said.

“But we also see a disappointing lack of progress in a number of other areas including out-of-home care and adult imprisonment.”

Ms Burney said the Closing the Gap architecture could only work when all parties were invested and there was a coordinated effort from all jurisdictions in partnership with First Nations peoples.

“We have to work more closely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to make real and much needed progress,” the Minister said.

She said work was well-underway to update the Commonwealth Implementation Plan to strengthen the focus on moving forward to achieve the outcomes, targets and Priority Reforms under the National Agreement.

NIAA’s 161-page Report can be accessed at this PS News link.

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