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Key references

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References for the key publications about Closing the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians are listed here.

2014

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (2014)

Closing the gap: Prime Minister’s report 2014.

Canberra: Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Australia

The Prime Minister tabled the sixth annual report on progress in Closing the Gap in Indigenous disadvantage in Parliament on 12 February 2014. This is the first report card delivered by Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

The Closing the gap Prime Minister's report 2014 outlines the commitments made by the new government, including:

  • consolidating the administration of Indigenous programs from eight government departments into the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
  • establishing the Prime Ministers Advisory Council
  • increasing Indigenous school attendance through funding $28.4 million for a remote school attendance program
  • improving Indigenous access to employment by commissioning a review and funding employment initiatives
  • supporting a referendum for the recognition of the First Australians in the Australian constitution.

The report also outlines progress made towards meeting the close the gap targets:

  • Close the life expectancy gap within a generation (by 2031): there has been a small improvement, but progress will need to accelerate for the gap to close by 2031.
  • Halve the gap in mortality rates for Indigenous children under five years within a decade (by 2018): on track to be met.
  • Ensure all Indigenous four-year-olds in remote communities have access to early childhood education within five years (by 2013): data not available until April on whether the 2013 target was met.
  • Halve the gap for Indigenous children in reading, writing and numeracy within a decade (by 2018): progress has been made but only two of the eight areas have improved since 2008. This target is not on track.
  • Halve the gap for Indigenous people aged 20-24 years in Year 12 or equivalent attainment rates (by 2020): on track to be met.
  • Halve the gap in employment outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a decade (by 2018): no progress has been made.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

The Close the Gap Campaign Steering Committee (2014)

Close the gap: progress and priorities report 2014.

Sydney: Australian Human Rights Commission

This report, released annually, presents the Close the Gap Campaign Steering Committee's assessment of the Australian Government's progress towards achieving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equality under the Closing the gap strategy.

This report is divided into three parts:

  • information and context on the Close the gap initiative (its history, bipartisan and national nature, it's community drive and empowers communities, and holistic)
  • progress of the life expectancy target
  • further actions to be taken by Australian governments.

The 2014 report calls on the Australian Government, in partnership with Indigenous people, to:

  • implement the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health plan 2013-12
  • built partnerships for planning and service delivery
  • continue long-term funding of the Closing the gap initiative and the National partnership agreements.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

2013

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australian Institute of Family Studies (2013)

What works to overcome Indigenous disadvantage: key learnings and gaps in the evidence: 2011-12.

Canberra: Closing the Gap Clearinghouse

This report summaries the findings of the Closing The Gap Clearinghouse on the research and evaluation evidence collected for overcoming disadvantage for Indigenous Australians. For this report the Clearinghouse focused on three of the seven Council of Australian Governments building blocks for overcoming disadvantage; early childhood, health and safe communities. It includes information on what works, what does not work and gaps in the evidence.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

COAG Reform Council (2013)

Indigenous reform 2011-12: comparing performance across Australia.

Sydney: COAG Reform Council

This is the fourth report on the National Indigenous Reform Agreement which sets six targets to address Indigenous disadvantage. The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Reform Council reports on progress toward the targets each year.

This document reports on components of all six targets, though reporting for some targets (Closing the life expectancy gap within a generation and Halving the gap for Indigenous people in Year 12 attainment) is only partial. This is because there is no new data for life expectancy, daily smoking, alcohol consumption and the prevalence of overweight and obesity; and attendance rates for year 1 - 10 are similar to last year.

The report includes sections on the following, as well as recommendations, jurisdictional snapshots for all states and territories and a statistical supplement:

  • Closing the gap in deaths
  • halving the gap in child deaths
  • early childhood education
  • literacy and numeracy
  • year 12 or equivalent attainment
  • employment outcomes
  • improving performance reporting.

Abstract adapted from the COAG Reform Council

Community Affairs References Committee (2013)

Australia's domestic response to the World Health Organization's (WHO) Commission on Social Determinants of Health report "Closing the gap within a generation".

Canberra: Parliament of Australia

This report is the result of a Senate Community Affairs Committee inquiry into Australia's domestic response to the World Health Organization's (WHO) commission on social determinants of health report Closing the gap within a generation. It includes:

  • a broad overview of the theory and evidence indicating that social determinants play an important role in individual health outcomes in Australia
  • a summary of the World Health Organisation published report Closing the gap in a generation and its key recommendations
  • a discussion of government responses to the social determinants of health in Australia - current state and Commonwealth government initiatives are reviewed, including Closing the gap initiatives and South Australia's, Health in all policies approach
  • a summary of the current data gather mechanisms for the social determinants of health, as well as arguments regarding the efficacy and appropriateness of current efforts.

The inquiry comprised of 68 public submissions from organisations and individuals and four public hearings. Submissions, additional information, the Hansard transcript of evidence and responses to questions on notice can be accessed through the committee's website at the link below.

The report makes five recommendations.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

Department of Families Housing Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (2013)

Closing the gap in the Northern Territory monitoring report: January to June 2012.

Canberra: Australian Government

Department of Families Housing Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (2013)

Closing the gap: Prime Minister's report 2013.

Canberra: Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

This is the fifth annual report outlining progress made towards meeting the targets set for Closing the gap in Indigenous disadvantage in the seven key building blocks:

  • early childhood
  • schooling
  • health
  • healthy homes
  • safe communities
  • economic participation
  • governance and leadership.

The report includes new data from the 2011 Census and provides the most comprehensive assessment to date of progress against the targets.

The report highlights 2013 as the year the first target - ensuring all Indigenous four-year olds living in remote communities have access to early childhood education within five years - falls due and claims this target will be met.

The Australian Government's agenda for Closing the gap is driven by the need to:

  • overcome decades of under-investment in services and infrastructure
  • encourage and support personal responsibility for healthy functional families and communities
  • build new understanding and respect between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

The report states that continued and sustained effort is needed to close the gap, but that the expected achievement of the early childhood education target in 2013 will support a commitment to ensuring that benefits flow through to the other Closing the gap targets to further address Indigenous disadvantage.

As with previous reports, it is acknowledged that the approach to Closing the Gap is a partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities, the private sector and non-government organisations.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

Holland C (2013)

Shadow report 2013: on Australian governments' progress towards closing the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Canberra: Close the Gap Campaign Steering Committee

This report presents the Close the Gap Campaign Steering Committee's assessment of the Australian Government's progress towards achieving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equality under the Closing the gap strategy. The report is divided into two parts:

  • the first assesses progress against the Council of Australian Government's Closing the gap targets and the implementation of the commitments in the Close the gap statement of intent. It considers this assessment in relation to the renewal of the National partnership agreement on closing the gap in Indigenous health outcomes which expires in June 2013
  • the second part of the report examines developments in partnership and planning with a focus on the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health plan due for completion and implementation in mid-2013. It emphasises the need for the plan to be developed in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and their representative bodies.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

2012

Close the Gap Campaign Steering Committee (2012)

Shadow report 2012 : on Australian governments' progress towards closing the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Melbourne: Oxfam Australia

This report presents the Close the Gap Campaign Steering Committee's assessment of the Australian Government's progress towards achieving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equality under the Closing the gap strategy. The report is divided into two parts; the first assesses progress against the Council of Australian Government's Closing the gap targets and the implementation of the commitments in the Close the gap statement of intent. The second part of the report describes how the states and territories that are parties to the Close the gap statement of intent are implementing it in their jurisdictions.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

Closing the Gap Clearinghouse (2012)

What works to overcome Indigenous disadvantage: key learnings and gaps in the evidence: 2010-11.

Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

This paper provides the key findings for what works, what does not work, implications for programs and projects and gaps in evidence for the following Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Closing the gap in Indigenous disadvantage building blocks:

  • Early childhood
  • Healthy homes
  • Governance and leadership.

The Closing the Gap Clearinghouse was established by COAG to collect, analyses and synthesis evidence based research on overcoming disadvantage for Indigenous Australians.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

COAG Reform Council (2012)

Indigenous reform 2010-11: comparing performance across Australia.

Sydney: COAG Reform Council

This report presents progress against indicators in the National Indigenous reform agreement. The agreement sets out the policy framework and the six targets for commonwealth, state and territory governments to close the gap in Indigenous disadvantage in health, education and employment.

It is the role of The COAG Reform Council to assess and report on the performance of governments against the targets and performance indicators of the national agreement. This report only considers four targets of the six set out in the national agreement, including:

  • close the life expectancy gap within a generation
  • halve the gap in death rates for Indigenous children under five within a decade
  • halve the gap for Indigenous students in reading, writing and numeracy within a decade
  • halve the gap for Indigenous 20-24 year olds in Year 12 or equivalent attainment rates by 2020.

Recommendations from the Reform Council are included in this report.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

Department of Families Housing Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (2012)

Closing the gap: Prime Minister's report 2012.

Canberra: Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

This annual report outlines the progress being made towards meeting the targets set for Closing the gap in Indigenous disadvantage in the seven key building blocks:

  • early childhood
  • schooling
  • health
  • healthy homes
  • safe communities
  • economic participation
  • governance and leadership.

The report highlights the significant improvements in the area of child mortality even though the gap still remains large.

The Australian Government's agenda for Closing the gap is driven by the need to:

  • overcome decades of under-investment in services and infrastructure
  • encourage and support personal responsibility for healthy functional families and communities
  • build new understanding and respect between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

The report states that even though improvements have been made, achieving solid results in the areas identified by the building blocks will take ongoing investment and time.

As with previous reports it is acknowledged that a partnership approach with Indigenous individuals and communities, corporate and community sectors is necessary to help 'close the gap'.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

2011

Al-Yaman F, Higgins D (2011)

What works to overcome Indigenous disadvantage: key learnings and gaps in the evidence: 2009-2010.

Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australian Institute of Family Studies

Close the Gap Campaign Steering Committee for Indigenous Health Equality (2011)

Shadow report on Australian Governments' progress towards closing the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Canberra: Australian Human Rights Commission

The Close the gap shadow report 2011 is the assessment of the Close the gap campaign of the progress made by the Australian Government towards achieving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equality. The report is divided into two parts, the first assesses progress against the Council of Australian Government's Closing the gap targets and the implementation of the commitments in the Close the gap statement of intent. The second part of the report describes how the states and territories that are parties to the Close the gap statement of intent are implementing it in their jurisdictions.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

Department of Families Housing Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (2011)

Closing the gap in the Northern Territory monitoring report : January to June 2011.

Canberra: Australian Government

Department of Families Housing Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (2011)

Closing the gap in the Northern Territory monitoring report : July to December 2010.

Canberra: Australian Government

This report provides data and analysis of the Closing the gap in the Northern Territory (previously the Northern Territory emergency response [NTER]) for the period July to December 2010. Part one of the report includes: background information on the NTER and the Closing the gap in the Northern Territory national partnership agreement; an overview of the NTER redesign process; an outline of the evaluation and monitoring of the NTER; an outline of the NTER measures; and key points from the whole of government report.

Part two of the report assesses what achievements and progress have been made towards the targets and milestones set out for the NTER during the time period.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

Department of Families Housing Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (2011)

Closing the gap: Prime Minister's report 2011.

Canberra: Department of Families, Housing, community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Australia

The third annual report outlines the progress that has been made towards meeting the targets set to close the gap in life expectancy, early childhood, health, education and employment between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. The most positive change has been in the area of child mortality where the gap has significantly narrowed in recent years.

The report provides information on the seven key building blocks identified by the Government as addressing specific areas of Indigenous disadvantage, including:

  • early childhood building block
  • schooling building block
  • health building block
  • healthy homes building block
  • safe communities building block
  • economic participation building block
  • governance and leadership building block.

The Government has committed to investing $5.75 billion over three years to make long-term improvements in each of these building block areas. The report acknowledges the interrelated nature of the Closing the gap targets, and outlines how each of the seven key building blocks works individually and together to make progress towards the targets.

The report also acknowledges how progress can only be made through a partnership approach with Indigenous individuals and communities, and the large role that the corporate and community sectors have to play in closing the gap. The National Congress of Australia's First Peoples and constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australian's are cited as key instances of how this partnership approach has been implemented.

The report recognises that previous methods of data collection were inadequate to measure progress made; to improve the evidence base the Government has committed $46.4 million over four years from 2009-10. Finally the report concludes that there is still much work to be done to address Indigenous disadvantage, but hopefully through following the targets set 'closing the gap' will be a realisable achievement within the next generation.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

2010

Close the Gap Steering Committee for Indigenous Health Equality (2010)

Shadow report on the Australian Government's progress towards closing the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Canberra: Australian Human Rights Commission

Department of Families Housing Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (2010)

Closing the gap in the Northern Territory monitoring report January – June 2010.

Canberra: Australian Government

This Closing the gap in the Northern Territory (previously the Northern Territory Emergency Response) monitoring report provides an analysis of data captured between 1 January and 30 June 2010. However, in many instances information is
provided for the entire period 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2010. 

Part one of the report includes:

  • Background information on the Northern Territory Emergency (NTER), national partnership agreement; Closing the gap in the NT.
  • Overview of the redesign process.
  • Outline of the evaluation and monitoring of the NTER.
  • Outline of the NTER measures.

Part two ties together information against each measure, including achievements and progress against each milestone and target. Part two also includes what has not been achieved and 'lessons learned'.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

Department of Families Housing Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (2010)

Closing the gap: Prime Minister's report 2010.

Canberra: Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

The second annual report outlines the work undertaken in 2010 to meet the targets set to 'close the gap' in life expectancy, early childhood, health, education and employment between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

For each of the six targets, this report:

  • outlines the target's commitment and baseline
  • provides current contextual information
  • reports on the progress made against the target.

For each of the seven 'building blocks', this report:

  • outlines the goals of the building block
  • provides information on the key achievements
  • includes a case study of a program or service.

The report provides detailed information on the work undertaken to improve the collection and reporting of relevant information to help track progress. It also outlines government expenditure on relevant programs and services.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

2009

Access Economics (2009)

Economic impact of closing the Indigenous gap in remote and very remote Australia.

Alice Springs: Cooperative Research Centre for Remote Economic Participation

Council of Australian Governments (2009)

National Indigenous reform agreement (closing the gap).

Canberra: Council of Australian Governments

Department of Families Housing Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (2009)

Closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage: the challenge for Australia.

Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia

This report outlines the Commonwealth Government's progress in 'Closing the Gap' and addressing Indigenous disadvantage. Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, promised during his apology to Indigenous Australians in 2008, to deliver a report card each year on the Government's efforts to close the gap. In this first year, measurable targets have been stated, efforts have been made to reset relationships with Indigenous people and initiatives to improve service delivery have been suggested. The main components of 'Closing the Gap' policy include the all-of -government approach and a commitment of the broader community and corporate sector.

The evidence gathered shows the extent of some aspects of Indigenous disadvantage in health, education and employment. The report sets out priorities for the future to achieve lasting change and ensure that future generations of Indigenous Australians have all the opportunities enjoyed by other Australians to live full, healthy lives and achieve their potential.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

2008

Access Economics (2008)

An overview of the economic impact of Indigenous disadvantage.

Canberra: Reconciliation Australia

Altman JC, Biddle N, Hunter BH (2008)

How realistic are the prospects for ‘closing the gaps' in socioeconomic outcomes for Indigenous Australians?.

Canberra: Australian National University

Calma T (2008)

Essentials for social justice: close the gap.

Paper presented at the Collaborative Indigenous Policy Development Conference. 11 June 2008, Brisbane

Dick D, Holland C, Harrison B (2008)

Closing the gap: national Indigenous health equality targets: outcomes from the National Indigenous Health Equality Summit.

Canberra: Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission

Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (2008)

Close the gap: Indigenous health equality summit, statement of intent.

Canberra: Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission

2007

Oxfam Australia (2007)

Close the gap: solutions to the Indigenous health crisis facing Australia.

Fitzroy, Vic.: Oxfam Australia

This report analyses national information published by the National Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Organisation, that highlights the ongoing legacy of colonisation for Aboriginal peoples of Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States of America (USA). It reports on the disparities that exist for life expectancy in these four countries between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

 
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