About the refresh

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We want to hear from you

As we approach the tenth anniversary of Closing the Gap only one of the seven national targets is on track and four will expire in 2018.

Australian governments acknowledge they need to work differently with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

This includes genuine partnership with Indigenous leaders, organisations and communities, to identify the priorities that will inform better programs and services, to close the gap.

We want to hear from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples on the best way to ‘refresh’ the Closing the Gap agenda. Share your views on the future of Closing the Gap.

Prosperity

We also need to honour and celebrate the richness and diversity of the world’s oldest living culture, and support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians to prosper.

Prosperity is about moving beyond wellbeing to flourishing and thriving. It refers to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples having the economic empowerment to be the decision-makers over issues that impact their lives, and to seize opportunities for themselves, their families and communities.

Prosperity can be structured around four key parts – Individual, Community, Economic and Environment. These are underpinned by a recognition that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture is integral for thriving communities.

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View the extended text description of the framework for prosperity image.

Working together

Another step in this process is to consider how governments can improve program implementation. Six implementation principles have been developed to guide the new Closing the Gap agenda.

The principles are:

  • Funding prioritised to meet targets
  • Evidence-based programs and policies
  • Genuine collaboration between governments and communities
  • Programs and services tailored for communities
  • Shared decision-making
  • Clear roles, responsibilities and accountability

History and targets

In December 2007, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) pledged to close key gaps in outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Specific targets were developed to reduce inequalities in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander life expectancy, mortality, education and employment. A seventh target to close the gap in school attendance was added in 2014.

While only one of the current targets is on track, there are stories of success and progress in all target areas.

The table illustrates the progress of the current targets:

Progress of the current targets
Target Progress Status
Close the gap in life expectancy by 2031 Between 2005-07 and 2010-12, there was a small reduction in the gap in life expectancy at birth of 0.8 years for males and 0.1 years for females. Mortality decreased by 15 per cent from 1998 to 2015, but no significant change since the 2006 target baseline Target is not on track
Halve the gap in mortality rates for Indigenous children under five by 2018 Child mortality decreased by 33 per cent from 1998 to 2015, but no significant change since the 2008 target baseline Target is not on track
95 per cent of all Indigenous four year-olds enrolled in early childhood education by 2025 Early childhood education – 87 per cent enrolment in 2015 Revised target
Close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous school attendance by 2018 School attendance has not improved from Semester 1 2014 to 2016 Target is not on track
Halve the gap for Indigenous children in reading, writing and numeracy by 2018 NAPLAN – Improvements in Years 3 and 5 reading and Years 5 and 9 numeracy from 2008 to 2016, but only Year 9 numeracy is on track Target is not on track
Halve the gap for Indigenous Australians aged 20-24 in Year 12 or equivalent attainment by 2020 Year 12 or equivalent attainment up from 45.4 per cent to 61.5 per cent from 2008 to 2014-15 Target is on track
Halve the gap in employment outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians by 2018 Employment has not improved from 2008 to 2014-15 Target is not on track
Many areas are not measured: economic, social, and environment  

Read the discussion paper for more information on the Closing the Gap Refresh.

If you have any questions, please email ClosingtheGapRefresh@pmc.gov.au