Thursday, 14 November, 2019

Australia fails to eliminate majority of disadvantages faced by indigenous people

Daniel Mc Culloch                                           
                         Belinda Tasker Daniel Mc Culloch Belinda Tasker
Patty Aguilar | 15 February, 2018, 10:01

Closing the Gap was implemented in 2008, shortly after the then-prime minister formally apologized the "Stolen Generation" of indigenous people who had been taken away from their family.

The tenth annual Closing the Gap report said Australia was failing to meet its targets in four-out-of-seven measures, including reading and writing among indigenous students, a key driver behind its failure to boost employment.

Those targets are reducing infant mortality, enrolling more children in early childhood education, and improving high school completion rates.

"While I welcome the improvement in three out of seven targets to close the gap, that still leaves four important targets not on track".

"Now it seems, for a range of domestic political factors concerning (former Labor senator Sam) Dastyari and others, (Mr Turnbull has) lurched considerably in the reverse direction", Mr Rudd told ABC radio on Monday.

It's been ten years since promises were made to end Indigenous disadvantage, but change has been slow.

"With four of the existing Closing the Gap targets expiring in 2018, the Australian government is working with the states and territories and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to refresh the Closing the Gap agenda", the report said.

The Closing the Gap strategy was established a decade ago under the Rudd Government, but is now undergoing a "refresh" from the Turnbull Government.

In the eight years from 2008 to 2016, 101 billion USA dollars was spent by the government in an attempt to achieve the seven key targets to little avail.

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The latest report shows less than half of the Closing the Gap targets are on track, a decade after it was launched to improve the lives of Indigenous Australians.

The government said the policy would be revised with new goals later in 2018.

"So I say today let's not bash the targets, let's enhance the targets but we should not water them down".

Kevin Rudd has accused Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of inconsistency in his approach to Australia's relationship with China, saying it's the opposite of what's needed.

Bill Shorten will pledge compensation for those who have slipped through the cracks since the National Apology.

Mr Shorten says in the past 10-years, state Labor and Liberal governments - apart from Victoria - have established different forms of compensation for members of the Stolen Generations.

The three unfulfilled goals, to close the gap school attendance, to halve the gap in unemployment rates and school literacy and numeracy results, will be reviewed.

"We are still not on track for life expectancy, employment, reading and numeracy and school attendance".

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