The 2016 Closing the Gap report has revealed that limited progress has been made across a majority of seven target areas in improving health, social and educational outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.
Tabled in Parliament by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on 10 February, the report shows that, of the seven areas of disadvantage, progress has been made in only two areas: rates of child mortality, and high school attainment.
According to the Prime Minister’s report we are not on track to meet targets in the areas of life expectancy, employment, reading and writing, and school attendance.
The seventh target area, early education, is a new aim, as the previous target set for 2013 was unmet. The first opportunity to review the progress in this area will be in March 2016.
In his address to Parliament the Prime Minister spoke of the need to come together, and work together, to close these gaps in opportunity and advantage.
“It is…important we listen to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people when they tell us what is working and what needs to change. It’s our role as government to provide an environment that enables Indigenous leaders to develop local solutions.”
“It is time for Governments to ‘do things with Aboriginal people, not do things to them’.”
“When we close the gap we make ourselves more whole, more complete – more Australian.”
– Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull
- Halve the gap in mortality rates for Indigenous children under five within a decade (by 2018).
- Halve the gap for Indigenous Australians aged 20-24 in Year 12 attainment or equivalent attainment rates (by 2020).
Not on track:
- Close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous school attendance within five years (by 2018).
- Halve the gap for Indigenous children in reading, writing and numeracy achievements within a decade (by 2018).
- Halve the gap in employment outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a decade (by 2018).
- Close the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a generation (by 2031).
- 95 per cent of all Indigenous four-year-olds enrolled in early childhood education (by 2025).
The ABC News website has provided an easy-to-follow illustration of the target areas, and how their progress has been measured in the 2016 report.