Australian Government

Closing the Gap

Closing the Gap

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Closing the Gap aims to improve the lives of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Since 2008, Australian governments have worked together to deliver better health, education and employment outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and to eliminate the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians

In December 2018, COAG committed to forming a genuine formal partnership with Indigenous Australians to finalise the Closing the Gap Refresh and provide a forum for ongoing engagement throughout implementation of the new agenda. The partnership will be based on mutual respect between parties and an acceptance that direct engagement and negotiation is the preferred pathway to productive and effective outcomes.

The arrangements for the formal partnership between COAG and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation will be settled by the end of February 2019, and will include a Joint Council on Closing the Gap, with Ministers nominated by jurisdictions and representation from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

COAG also released a draft Closing the Gap framework, including draft targets, accountabilities and reporting requirements as a basis for further discussion with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples and communities.

By mid-2019, ahead of endorsement by COAG, the partnership – working through the Joint Council – will:

  • Finalise all draft targets.
  • Review the National Indigenous Reform Agreement.
  • Develop an independent, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led approach to the three-yearly comprehensive evaluation and review of progress nationally and in each jurisdiction.

The journey to truly close the gap is one for every Australian to walk. Together, through aspiration, mutual respect and genuine partnership, we can achieve a safe and prosperous future for all.

Draft targets

Families, children and youth

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children thrive in their early years.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and households are safe.
Increase the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children assessed as developmentally on track in all five domains of the Australian Early Development Census to 45% by 2028.
95% of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander four-year-olds enrolled in early childhood education by 2025.
Significant and sustained progress to eliminate the over-representation of Aboriginal children in out-of-home care.
A significant and sustained reduction in violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children.

 

Health

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people enjoy long and healthy lives.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are born healthy and strong.
Close the gap in life expectancy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous Australians within a generation, by 2031.
By 2028, 90-92% of babies born to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers have a healthy birthweight.

 

Education

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students succeed at school.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students stay in school.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students reach their full potential through further education pathways.
Increase the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in the top two bands of NAPLAN reading and numeracy for years 3, 5, 7 and 9 by an average of 6 percentage points by 2028.
Decrease the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in the bottom two bands of NAPLAN reading and numeracy for years 3, 5, 7 and 9 by an average of 6 percentage points by 2028.
Halve the gap in attainment of Year 12 or equivalent qualifications between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non Indigenous 20-24 year-olds by 2020.
47% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (aged 20-64 years) have completed Certificate III or above, including higher education, by 2028.

 

Economic development

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth are engaged in employment or education.
Strong Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce participation.
65% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth (15-24 years) are in employment, education or training by 2028.
60% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 25-64 years are employed by 2028.

 

Housing

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people secure appropriate, affordable housing as a pathway to better lives.
Increase the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population living in appropriately sized (not overcrowded) housing to 82% by 2028.

 

Justice, including youth justice

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are not overrepresented in the criminal justice system.
Reduce the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in detention by 11-19% and adults held in incarceration by at least 5% by 2028.

 

Land and water

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ land, water and cultural rights are realised.
A Land and Waters target will be developed by mid-2019 by all jurisdictions to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ access, management and ownership of land of which they have a traditional association, or which can assist with their social, cultural and economic development.

 

Cross system priorities

The draft framework issued by COAG addresses racism, discrimination and social inclusion, healing and trauma, and the promotion of culture and language for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as cross system priorities requiring action and responses across all target areas.

The targets and potential cross system priorities will be finalised through the formal partnership between the Commonwealth, state and territory governments and Indigenous Australians through their representatives.

Through the development of draft targets it became apparent that some priority areas have wide reaching impacts on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. These priority areas include culture, racism and discrimination, trauma and healing, disability and social inclusion. While there was universal agreement on the importance of these issues and acknowledgement that they influence outcomes in all other target areas, there were differing views on whether setting a target for such priorities was appropriate and also what such a target might be.

All Australian governments recognise the need to address intergenerational change, racism, discrimination and social inclusion (including in relation to disability, gender and LGBTIQ+), healing and trauma, and the promotion of culture and language for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.