12 February, 2020

Circuit breaker needed as the cycle of failure continues in 2020 Closing the Gap report

The release of the 2020 Closing the Gap report today confirms
the need for a fundamentally new approach, according to the Coalition of Peaks.

The report reveals that progress against the majority of
Closing the Gap targets is still not on track. The gap in mortality rates
between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous
Australians increased last year and there are very worrying signs on infant
mortality. Only the targets for early childhood education and year 12
equivalence can be considered on track, but only in some states. 

Pat Turner, CEO of NACCHO and Co-Chair of the Joint Council
on Closing the Gap, said that governments need to learn from these failures,
not continue to repeat them.

“These Closing the Gap reports tell the same story of failure
every year,” Turner said.

“The danger of this seemingly endless cycle of failure is
that it breeds complacency and cynicism, while excusing those in power. People
begin to believe that meaningful progress is impossible and there is nothing
governments can do to improve the lives of our people.”

“The truth is that the existing Closing the Gap framework was
doomed to fail when it was designed without the input of Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander people. We know what will work best for our communities and the
Prime Minister even acknowledges in this report that our voice was the missing
ingredient from original framework.”

“The Coalition of Peaks has signed a formal partnership
agreement with every Australian government, where decision-making on design,
implementation and evaluation of a new Closing the Gap framework will be
shared. Through this partnership, the Coalition of Peaks has put forward
structural priority reforms to the way governments work with and deliver
services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”

“Governments say they are listening to Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander people. However, the true test in listening is translating the
priority reforms into real, tangible and funded actions that make a difference
to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people right across our country.”  

‘This historic partnership could be the circuit-breaker that
is needed. However, if they view this process as little more than window
dressing for the status quo, the cycle of failure evident in today’s report is
doomed to continue.”

Media Contact: Andrew Blyberg – 0401 691 666 or andrew@fiftyacres.com