A Special Gathering in Canberra

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5 March 2018

To mark ten years of Closing the Gap, a Special Gathering of 64 prominent Indigenous Australians met in Canberra for two days to discuss priorities for the next decade of Closing the Gap.

Participants brought a diverse range of backgrounds and expertise from all states and territories. The Gathering was invited to share their own lived experiences as well as those of their families and communities to help influence the next stage of Closing the Gap.

Attending the Gathering was a special experience for Kristal Kinsela, a descendant of both the Jawoyn and Wiradjuri nations and a partner and director of management consulting company Indigenous Professional Services.

“For me, it's been a great experience… having that good cross-section of different people's experiences and expertise, but also their jurisdictions adds more flavour to the conversation,” Kristal said.

On day two of the Gathering the Prime Minister and First Ministers joined in discussions with the attendees. The meeting concluded with a statement from the Special Gathering.

For GP Dr Kim Isaacs from Broome, the Gathering gave her the chance to provide feedback on targets.

“I hope to put our own solutions forward to on how we think Closing the Gap targets should be fixed.

“Closing the Gap is the foundation of what we do every day… it is the basis of trying to help improve the health outcomes of my patients,” said Kim.

Jahna Cedar, the Executive Officer of the Gumala Aboriginal Corporation in Perth felt the Special Gathering was an opportunity to learn from different community experiences.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for us to start networking together and learn from one another on what best practice frameworks are already working in communities.

It’s also a chance to share statistics and give some real honest grassroots feedback so we can see urgent and much needed change,” Jahna said.

Ten representatives presented the statement to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting on Friday 8 February.

From this, COAG agreed all governments will undertake community consultations on the refresh, prior to agreeing on the new Closing the Gap framework, targets and performance indicators by 31 October 2018.

To read the full COAG communique, visit the COAG website.

Find out more

Four of the seven Closing the Gap targets are due to expire in this year. The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) have agreed to refresh the Closing the Gap agenda, working in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

We want to hear your views on the best way to ‘refresh’ the Closing the Gap agenda. Share your views on the future of Closing the Gap.