Close the Gap: some progress but more needs to be done

Date: 
Thursday 7 November 2013
Image: 

The Close the Gap Campaign has welcomed the COAG Reform Council’s report on the progress of the COAG reform agenda over the period 2008 to 2013.

Consistent with the overall trend of COAG initiatives, there has been some progress on the Closing the Gap agenda. Overall results, however, are mixed.

Close the Gap Campaign co-chair Mick Gooda, who is also Social Justice Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission, said Australia was on track to halve the gap in child death rates between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.

Mr Gooda (pictured) said a greater effort is needed in employment and to achieve equality in life expectancy by 2030.

He noted that the COAG Reform Council report did not contain new data but it highlights the importance of collaboration and coordination between governments and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“We need effective collaboration and coordination across all governments if we are to be successful in the long-term challenge of closing the gap,” said Mr Gooda.

“The report highlights that cultural change and leadership is needed to achieve reform. Shifting Indigenous Affairs into Prime Minister and Cabinet provides an opportunity for this reform.”

Close the Gap Campaign co-chair Kirstie Parker, who is also co-chair of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, said the report highlights issues contained in a brief produced by the Close the Gap Campaign to guide the new Federal Government as Parliament prepares to sit for the first time next week.

“We called on the Federal Government to forge an agreement with states and territories through COAG on a renewed Indigenous health National Partnership Agreement.

“The COAG Reform Council’s report says this type of funding agreement can drive collaboration and deliver better outcomes for health and education,” Ms Parker said.

“The Close the Gap Campaign welcomes the report’s call for better reporting of health and education outcomes. We need to know how we are tracking and where we need to improve.

“This report demonstrates that we are making progress but we must redouble our efforts.

“Closing the gap is a national priority that requires coordination and collaboration, spanning policy cycles, funding agreements and governments."

Related content:

Building on the Closing the Gap Platform: Commitments for an Incoming Government (pdf): https://www.humanrights.gov.au/sites/default/files/Building_on_Close_The_Gap2013.pdf

Building on the Closing the Gap Platform: Commitments for an Incoming Government (docx): https://www.humanrights.gov.au/sites/default/files/Building_on_Close_The_Gap2013.docx