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Date posted: 14 February 2017
The Australian Government has released the latest Closing the gap: Prime Minister's report 2017, the ninth annual report card on the progress made towards meeting the nation's targets to close the gap in life expectancy, early childhood, health, education and employment between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous Australians.
'This report demonstrates that all Australian governments have much more work to do,' said Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull in his address to Parliament when tabling the report. 'I firmly believe that people must be involved in the process to be engaged in the outcomes. It has to be a shared endeavor. Greater empowerment of local communities will deliver the shared outcomes we all seek.'
'We'll work to ensure that the Closing the gap initiatives are community-driven and recognise that Indigenous leaders are absolutely central - paramount - to finding solutions in a way that supports identity and wellbeing,' Mr Turnbull said.
The Closing the gap report indicated that progress had been varied across the seven education, employment and health targets. Out of the seven targets, only one target is on track to be met by 2020:
Other targets, which are not on track to be met, include:
The target to ensure access to early childhood education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander for all four-year-olds in remote communities was not met and expired in 2013. In 2015, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) modified this target slightly, extending it to a national scope instead of focusing on only remote communities. The revised target is for 95% Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander for all four-year-olds to be enrolled in early childhood education by 2025. The baseline data for this revised target is for 2015.
At a Closing the gap breakfast in Canberra, National Congress of Australia's First Peoples co-chair Jackie Huggins told the Prime Minister it was another round of disheartening news. 'We have seen many reports and inquiries over the years make important recommendations - 400 in fact - without the required attention or response from government,' she said.
Source: ABC, 9 News, Sydney Morning Herald, Prime Minister and Cabinet