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Closing the Gap Website

The official Closing the Gap website with further information on the National Agreement and relevant resources.

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National Agreement on Closing the Gap

The current version of the National Agreement, as agreed by Joint Council.

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Coalition of Peaks on Closing the Gap

The official Coalition of Peaks website with further information on the National Agreement and the role the Coalition of Peaks plays.

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What is the National Agreement on Closing the Gap?

The National Agreement on Closing the Gap is an agreement between the Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Organisations and all Australian governments on how government work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

It was officially formed on July 27, 2020, when the Coalition of Peaks, all Australian governments and the Australian Local Government Association signed the National Agreement on Closing the Gap. The National Agreement has been built around what Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have said is essential for improving our lives and includes four Priority Reforms to change the way governments work with our people, as well as new government accountability measures and shared monitoring and implementation arrangements.

The Review of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap report

The Productivity Commission released the first of its three-yearly reviews of the National Agreement on 7 February 2024, with a strong recommendation that governments need to move out of a business as usual mindset and embrace power-sharing arrangements.

SNAICC supports the Productivity Commission’s recommendations to drive progress and improve life outcomes under the National Agreement (read our full statement here).

The Review of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap report is available to read online. 
Read the full Report
The Closing the Gap 2023 Annual Report and 2024 Implementation Plan

The Federal Government delivered the Commonwealth Closing the Gap 2023 Annual Report and 2024 Implementation Plan on 13 February 2024.

The 2023 Annual Report assesses the Commonwealth’s delivery against actions outlined in the 2023 Implementation Plan. The 2024 Implementation Plan is forward looking, outlining the Commonwealth’s strategic priorities for Closing the Gap over the next year.

The Commonwealth’s 2023 Annual Report and 2024 Implementation Plan is available to read online.
Read the full Report
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Our Role in Closing the Gap

SNAICC is a founding member of the Coalition of Peaks, a representative body of over 80 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled peak organisations and members.

The peaks came together in 2018 to change the way Australian governments work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, organisations and communities on closing the gap.

The National Agreement, developed in collaboration between the Coalition of Peaks and the Australian Governments, transforms how Australian governments work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It prioritises shared decision-making around 17 targets aimed at improving our people’s lives. Under the National Agreement, policy partnership groups have been formed to drive key actions for priority outcome areas.

You can track progress here.

The Priority Reforms

The National Agreement is built around four Priority Reforms to change the way government work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, organisations and people to accelerate improvements in Closing the Gap.

The Priority Reforms arose from the partnership between Australian governments and the Coalition of Peaks and respond to the voices and aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Relevant Outcome Areas

Outcome 3

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are engaged in high-quality, culturally appropriate early childhood education.

Target: By 2025, increase the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children enrolled in Year Before Fulltime Schooling early childhood education to 95 per cent.

Outcome 3
Outcome 4

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children thrive in their early years.

Target: 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 to 55 per cent.

Outcome 4
Outcome 12

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are not over-represented in the child protection system.

Target: By 2031, reduce the rate of over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care by 45 per cent.

Outcome 12
We also play a prominent role in Outcome 11 – that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are not over-represented in the criminal justice system.

 

Background on the National Agreement on Closing the Gap

The original Closing the Gap policy was agreed upon in 2008 as a positive step forward in a nationally coordinated effort to improve the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. However, progress was slow and many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and organisations were excluded from policy priorities and actions.

In 2016, the Australian government wanted to update the Closing the Gap strategy. SNAICC was one of the original 14 organisations concerned that governments would make decisions about us, without us. Consequently, the Coalition of Peaks was formed to collaborate with governments on a new approach to Closing the Gap. It took a lot of discussion and work, but the National Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap was born.

Under the Partnership Agreement, the Coalition of Peaks met with Australian governments to assess what had and hadn’t worked on Closing the Gap over the previous ten years, what could be strengthened and what needed to be changed. The Coalition of Peaks and Governments agreed that the National Indigenous Reform Agreement – an agreement signed by Australian governments in 2008 that set out the original Closing the Gap strategy – needed to be replaced by a new National Agreement built around what Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have said is needed to improve our lives; and to be signed off by the Coalition of Peaks and Governments.

In late 2019, the Coalition of Peaks led a comprehensive engagement process that informed the National Agreement. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from across Australia were consulted to determine what should be included. The Joint Council met on July 3, 2020, to discuss the final draft of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap. It is the first National Agreement of its kind, developed in true collaboration between the Coalition of Peaks and the Australian Governments.

The National Agreement lays out a strategy for closing the gap that is heavily based on and supported by the priorities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It is based on four Priority Reforms aimed at improving outcomes by transforming how governments work with and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Resources

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News

Fact Sheet: Priority Reform One – the National Agreement on Closing the Gap

November 2018

The National Agreement's Priority Reform One commits governments to new formal policy partnerships and place-based partnerships where decision making on Closing the Gap will be shared between governments and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives. Read the Fact Sheet here.

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News

Submission Paper: Closing the Gap ‘Refresh’ Process

April 2018

Submission on the Closing the Gap 'Refresh' Process to guide the Council of Australian Governments on the next phase of the Closing the Gap agenda and provide the framework for how government funding is prioritised to meet the targets.

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