New Closing the Gap agreement to be unveiled today

30 July 2020

Written by: Sruti Venkatesh

All state and territory governments have signed up to 16 new targets as part of the agreement

The reconstructed Closing the Gap agreement is to be unveiled this afternoon after most of the targets set by the 2008 Rudd government were not met.

For the first time in history, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations have been directly involved in the making of the new agreement.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is to stand alongside Indigenous Affairs Minister, Ken Wyatt and Pat Turner, the lead convenor of the Coalition of Peaks when making the announcement.

“The gaps we are now seeking to close are the gaps that have now been defined by the representatives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” the Prime Minister said.

“This is as it should be. This creates a shared commitment and a shared responsibility.”

The new agreement is built on the 2008 framework which initially set 7 targets to be met. The 16 targets cover a vast range of areas with the target end goal being set to 2031. It has the backing of all levels of government and the Coalition of Peaks which includes around 50 Indigenous bodies.

“We know that the best outcomes are achieved when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are equal partners with governments, and when they have a direct say in how we are going to be successful,” Indigenous Affairs Minister Ken Wyatt said.

Some of the targets include closing the life expectancy gap between non-Indigenous and Indigenous Australians by 2031.

The objectives also incorporate moving 30 percent of young Indigenous prisoners out of detention and moving 15 percent of Indigenous adults out of jail by 2031.

The targets are heavily education-based by setting goals to have 67 per cent of Indigenous youth in education, employment or training, have 70 per cent of young Indigenous people with a tertiary qualification and a push for a year 12 attainment rate of up to 96 per cent all by 2031.

Additional goals have been set to ensure a reduction in violence towards women and children and a reduction in suicide rates but these targets don’t have the end date of 2031, acknowledging that this will need to be worked on over time.

Coalition of Peaks lead convenor Pat Turner said Indigenous people wanted to have input on how things should be progressing within their communities.

“If the priority reforms are implemented in full by governments and through shared decision making with First Nations people, we should see changes over time to the lives and experiences of our people,” she said.

Ken Wyatt Indigenous Affairs Minister said there is no funding for the agreement as of yet.

“That is deliberate, because we want to set out the targets and the priority policy areas that have still yet to be finalised in terms of the detail,” he said.

More work is planned in the coming year to add an additional four targets taking the total up to 20. These targets will focus on community infrastructure, data access, water access and family violence.

Morrison said that the new framework is based on a true partnership towards a shared goal that every Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child to grow up with at least the same opportunities in life as every other Australian. You can read the full report detailing the new targets HERE.



Photo: Aboriginal flag by Les Haines available HERE and used under a Creative Commons Attribution. The image has not been modified.