24th August, 2019

Joint Council makes progress towards new Closing the Gap agreement

Closing the Gap/CTG

Joint Council makes progress towards new National Agreement on Closing the Gap.

A meeting of the Joint
Council on Closing the Gap was held today in Adelaide, between representatives
of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) and a Coalition of Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander Peak Bodies (Coalition of Peaks).

In its second ever meeting, the Joint Council today agreed to work towards a new National Agreement Closing the Gap. Importantly, it also agreed in principle to the following three priority reforms to underpin the new agreement and accelerate progress on Closing the Gap: 

1. Developing and strengthening structures to ensure the full involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in shared decision making at the national, state and local or regional level and embedding their ownership, responsibility and expertise to close the gap;

2. Building the formal Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled services sector to deliver closing the gap services and programs in agreed priority areas; and

3. Ensuring all mainstream government agencies and institutions undertake systemic and structural transformation to contribute to Closing the Gap.

The priority reforms will form the basis of engagements with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives of communities and organisations across Australia and will focus on building support and what is needed to make them a success. In another first, the engagements will be led by the Coalition of Peaks, with the support of Australian Governments. 



A Welcome to Country for the second meeting of the Joint Council on  #ClosingtheGap in Adelaide , co-chaired by the Minister Ken Wyatt and Pat Turner AM, Lead Convenor of the Coalition of Peaks. 

“Today marks a
significant step forward in our historic partnership between governments and
the Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peaks with the agreement
that we will work towards a new National Agreement on Closing the Gap to guide
efforts over the next ten years,” said Pat Turner, Lead Convener of the
Coalition of Peaks, CEO of NACCHO and Co-Chair of the Joint Council.

“The conversation on
Closing the Gap is changing because Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
peoples are now at the negotiating table with governments.

“The proposed priority
reforms are based on what Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have been
saying for a long time is needed to close the gap and we now have a formal
structure in place to put those solutions to governments. 

“If we are to close the
gap it will be Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled
organisations leading the way on service delivery. We already know that
community-controlled organisations achieve better results because we understand
what works best for our peoples.

“It is a critical step
for the Joint Council to formally recognise that Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander peoples must share in decision-making on policies that affect their
lives.

“The Coalition of Peaks
are looking forward to engaging with communities around Australia to build
support from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for the priority
reforms and to ensure that their views on what is needed to make them a success
is captured in the new National Agreement,” Ms Turner said.  

The Joint Council agreed on a communiqué: download PDF here.

About the Joint Council

The Joint Council was established under the historic Partnership
Agreement, announced in March. The agreement represents the first time
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak bodies will have an equal say in the
design, refresh, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the Closing the
Gap framework.

The council is comprised of 12 representatives elected by the
Coalition of Peaks, a Minister nominated by the Commonwealth and each state and
territory governments and one representative from the Australian Government
Association.

The Joint Council will meet at least twice a year, and will
develop a workplan to refresh the Closing the Gap framework and monitor its
implementation over the next ten years.

For more information on The Joint Council, The Partnership Agreement, The Coalition of Peaks and to sign up for our mailing list, go to: https://www.naccho.org.au/ programmes/coalition-of-peaks/

For media enquiries or for interviews contact Andrew Blyberg on andrew@fiftyacres.com or +61 401 691 666