Reconciliation Australia has published a report that examines Australia’s history with reconciliation, the current state of reconciliation, and what steps we need to make to ensure we create a reconciled and equitable Australia.
Launched in Canberra on 9 February, the State of Reconciliation in Australia report assesses the significant achievements from our journey to reconciliation over the last 25 years, considering five dimensions to measure reconciliation in Australia:
- Race relations
- Equality and equity
- Institutional integrity
- Historical acceptance
Despite the progress made towards reconciliation – which includes the establishment of native title, the Apology, the Closing the Gap framework, and progress on constitutional recognition of First Australians – many barriers continue to impede advancement.
Examining each of these five dimensions in detail, the report draws on key findings to highlight key actions that must be taken to achieve reconciliation, and that can be used today to start the hard conversations before us:
- Overcome racism
- Renew focus on Closing the Gap by all Australian Governments
- Recognise and respect the cultures and collective rights of First Australians
- Capitalise on the positive social change generated through the RAP program
- Improve the governance of government
- Achieve a process to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and unite all Australians
- Acknowledge our past through truth, justice and healing
In reference to SNAICC’s key areas of activity, the report highlights persistent barriers in access to education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as a significant contributor to the gap in equality and equity:
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people enjoy less participation in, and access to, a range of life opportunities—significant disparities continue to exist in the key areas of employment, education and health.
The rate of children entering out-of-home care (a figure that has tripled since the Bringing Them Home report was published in 1997) is central to reconciliation through historical acceptance:
Australia is repeating some of the wrongs of the past and urgent, well-considered action is needed to reduce the rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care and the rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in prison.