News Closing the Gap agreement reset with 16 new targets

Closing the Gap agreement reset with 16 new targets

Scott Morrison and Ken Wyatt say the new deal addresses problems with the previous approach. Video: ABC
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All Australian governments have committed to 16 targets to tackle Indigenous disadvantage, after the previous Closing the Gap scheme largely failed in its aims, year after year.

The agreement completely resets targets set in 2008, and promises far greater Indigenous involvement in leading its implementation and measuring its progress – a significant change from the previous strategy.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said there had been a failure to partner with Indigenous people to develop and deliver the 2008 targets.

“We told Indigenous Australians what the gap was that we were going to close – and somehow thought they should be thankful for that,” Mr Morrison said.

“That was wrong-headed. That wasn’t the way to do it.

“This is the task of us all. And for that to be successful, we need a partnership between all of these groups.”

The new agreement also includes accountability mechanisms to keep governments on track, and a commitment to address structural racism in mainstream government organisations.

The targets have been signed up to by the Commonwealth, state/territory and local governments.

A network of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, the Coalition of Peaks, helped to develop the plan and has also signed on.

Coalition of Peaks convenor Pat Turner said negotiations had been “very hard-fought” at times.

“The Prime Minister probably didn’t fully realise what he was committing to, and possibly no government did – but maybe that was a good thing at the time,” she said.

Today we now have a comprehensive set of commitments from governments that places Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled organisations at the centre of Closing the Gap.”

However, there is no immediate new funding to support the agreement.

“This isn’t about buckets of money,” Mr Morrison said.

“This is about changing the way we do things and ensuring that we apply the resources most effectively to achieve that.”

The new targets:

  1. Close the Gap in life expectancy within a generation, by 2031
  2. By 2031, increase the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies with a healthy birthweight to 91 per cent
  3. By 2025, increase the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children enrolled in Year Before Fulltime Schooling (YBFS) early childhood education to 95 per cent
  4. By 2031, 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 (AEDC) to 55 per cent
  5. By 2031, increase the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (age 20-24) attaining year 12 or equivalent qualification to 96 per cent
  6. By 2031, increase the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 25-34 years who have completed a tertiary qualification (Certificate III and above) to 70 per cent
  7. By 2031, increase the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth (15–24 years) who are in employment, education or training to 67 per cent
  8. By 2031, increase the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 25–64 who are employed to 62 per cent
  9. By 2031, increase the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in appropriately sized (not overcrowded) housing to 88 per cent
  10. By 2031, reduce the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults held in incarceration by at least 15 per cent
  11. By 2031, reduce the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people (10-17 years) in detention by at least 15 per cent
  12. By 2031, reduce the rate of over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care by 45 per cent
  13. A significant and sustained reduction in violence and abuse against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children towards zero
  14. Significant and sustained reduction in suicide of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people towards zero
  15. a) By 2030, a 15 per cent increase in Australia’s landmass subject to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s legal rights or interests
    b) By 2030, a 15 per cent increase in areas covered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s legal rights or interests in the sea
  16. By 2031, there is a sustained increase in number and strength of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages being spoken

ABC