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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin
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What is Closing the gap?

Closing the gap is a strategy that aims to reduce Indigenous disadvantage with respect to life expectancy, child mortality, access to early childhood education, educational achievement, and employment outcomes. Endorsed by the Australian Government in March 2008, Closing the gap is a formal commitment developed in response to the call of the Social Justice Report 2005 [1] to achieve Indigenous health equality within 25 years.

To monitor change, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) has set measurable targets to monitor improvements in the health and wellbeing of the Indigenous population. These targets focus on:

The achievement of substantial improvements in the health and wellbeing of Indigenous people will depend largely on the effective implementation of these targets as they reflect some of the substantial disadvantages experienced by Indigenous 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.


  1. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner (2005) Social justice report 2005. Sydney: Human Rights & Equal Opportunity Commission
Last updated: 12 July 2016
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