The National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) has launched a new plan to turn the tide on stalled and backsliding measures in the National Agreement on ‘Closing the Gap’ with the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.
Welcoming the NIAA’s 2023 Commonwealth Closing the Gap Implementation Plan, the Minister for Indigenous Australians, Linda Burney said the Plan was about practical action.
“The gap is not closing fast enough and on some measures it is going backwards,” Ms Burney said.
“[The Plan] moves beyond the foundational Commonwealth attitude to Closing the Gap planning,” she said.
“It outlines specific and actionable plans for accelerating efforts to embed the Priority Reforms and achieve the socio-economic targets.”
Ms Burney said the new Implementation Plan responded directly to the NIAA’s Commonwealth Closing the Gap Annual Report 2022 which found only four socio-economic targets were on track and 14 targets were worsening or not on tack.
She said the whole-of-government approach outlined in the Plan brought together all the actions that each Department and Agency was taking to achieve the Closing the Gap outcomes, “so that we can be held to account and coordinate with the Coalition of Peaks and our State and Territory Government and local government partners.”
“[The] Implementation Plan also accelerates specific actions on the National Agreement’s four Priority Reforms to transform the relationship between Governments and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, communities and organisations,” the Minister said.
Launching the Plan, NIAA said the Implementation Plan was in two parts, with the first part, titled ‘Changing the Way We Work’, designed to build on the lessons from the Annual Report.
The Agency said the second part of the Plan, ‘Delivering on Outcomes and Targets’ delved into each of the socio-economic outcomes identified in the National Agreement and outlined the direction the Commonwealth was taking to close the gap in these 19 important areas.