Closing the Gap

Welcome to the HealthInfoNet section on Closing the Gap, a central hub for information about the government initiative that aims to address Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage in health, education and employment. This section provides a comprehensive collection of publications, resources, policies and programs relating to Closing the Gap. The workforce section includes events, training, funding and jobs.

What is Closing the Gap?

Closing the Gap is a government strategy that aims to reduce disadvantage among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with respect to life expectancy, child mortality, access to early childhood education, educational achievement, and employment outcomes [17301][15364]. It is a formal commitment made by all Australian governments to achieve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equality within 25 years.

Closing the Gap was developed in response to the call of the Social justice report 2005 [2811] and the Close the Gap social justice campaign [17301][15364]. In March 2008, Australian governments and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people agreed ‘to work together to achieve equality in health status and life expectancy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians by the year 2030′ when they signed the Indigenous health equality summit statement of intent [15106].

To monitor change, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) has set measurable targets to monitor improvements in the health and wellbeing of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population [17301]. The targets are:

  • close the gap in life expectancy by 2031
  • halve the gap in child mortality by 2018
  • ensure 95 percent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander four-years-olds are enrolled in early childhood education by 2025
  • halve the gap in reading, writing and numeracy by 2018
  • halve the gap in year 12 attainment by 2020
  • halve the gap in employment by 2018.
  • close the gap in school attendance by 2018 (this target was added in May 2014) [34383].

Every year, the Prime Minister releases a Closing the Gap report to Parliament that details the progress on these targets. A report is also released by the Close the Gap Steering Committee that details progress on the two health-related targets and provides recommendations to the government.

The achievement of substantial improvements in the health and wellbeing among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people depends largely on the effective implementation of these targets as they reflect some of the substantial disadvantages experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The timeframes for the Closing the Gap targets recognise the enormity of the challenge facing governments and the nation in that effective, integrated comprehensive strategies and policies will need to be sustained for a long time – improvements to the extent set in the various targets will not occur in the short-term.

What are the differences between Close the Gap and Closing the Gap?

Close the Gap

Close the Gap is a social justice campaign that was launched in April 2007 [24836]. It was created as a response to the

[2811].

The campaign is operated by a coalition of Australia’s peak Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous health organisation, non-governmental organisations, and human rights organisations [30931]. Close the Gap has a steering committee that is currently co-chaired by Dr Jackie Huggins, co-chair of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, and Ms Patricia Turner, CEO of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO). The steering committee is made up of a number of organisations and individual expert advisers.

Close the Gap involves a well-known social awareness campaign run by Oxfam. Every year, organisations and individuals across Australia host events on National Close the Gap Day. People can also sign the pledge asking for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equality within a generation.

Closing the Gap

Closing the Gap is a government strategy [17301][15364]. It aims to reduce disadvantage among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with respect to life expectancy, child mortality, access to early childhood education, educational achievement, and employment outcomes. It is a formal commitment made by all Australian governments to achieve among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equality within 25 years.

References

Key resources

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Workforce information

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Artwork

Digital version of Gecko by Donna Lei Rioli

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices and names of people who have passed away.
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