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Closing the gap strategy set for overhaul

Date posted: 24 October 2017

The Federal Government is working on a major overhaul of the Closing the gap strategy, after concern over a lack of improvements in outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

It has been almost 10 years since Commonwealth and State Governments committed to targets to close the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, education and employment, but there has been limited progress in key areas.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull signalled a new approach was needed when he tabled the ninth annual Closing the gap report to Parliament earlier this year, that showed some targets were stagnating and others were going backwards.

The Federal Government is now seeking feedback on a drastically different approach, that will broaden the agenda to include more cultural and community targets. The proposed new framework, which would guide $300 billion of investment over 10 years, will also consider if objectives like home ownership, community safety, and overcoming trauma should become priorities.

Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister, Nigel Scullion, said in the past, state governments had little involvement in designing the scheme and that working with the states was essential to any overhaul. 'We are committed to co-designing the Closing the gap refresh and that is why the [Council of Australian Governments] will hear from the National Congress of Australia's First Peoples and discuss priorities and objectives for each state and territory over the next 12 months,' he said.

The co-chairman of the National Congress of Australia's First People, Rod Little, said there needed to be greater accountability for the strategy and its outcomes. Mr Little, who is also a member of the Closing the gap steering committee, said he believed it was vital the new scheme had targets that addressed the rising rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander imprisonment. Mr Little noted that it was vital for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community to be involved in designing the new strategy.

It is expected the final strategy will not be implemented until the middle of 2018.

Source: ABC

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Last updated: 24 October 2017
 
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