Indigenous Australians want input into the new Closing the Gap approach
20 January 2020 at 5:15 pm
The government is working on a new national agreement
More than 90 per cent of Indigenous Australians believe it is important to develop formal partnerships between government and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the next phase of Closing the Gap, new research shows.
With a new national agreement on Closing the Gap currently in development, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled Coalition of Peaks consulted around 4,000 Indigenous people through an online survey and face-to-face meetings for their thoughts on the process.
Around nine in 10 people said formal partnerships between the Indigenous community and governments were important, as were growing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled services and improving mainstream service delivery.
Coalition of Peaks convenor Pat Turner said Indigenous people were clear that reforming the way governments work to close the gap was vital to accelerating progress.
“Participants and survey respondents were united on their support for the priority reforms, speaking with one clear voice,” Turner said.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities know what works for them and have charted a clear way forward for the new national agreement on Closing the Gap.”
Turner said it was essential for the Coalition of Peaks that Indigenous communities were engaged in the development of the next agreement from the beginning.
“The Coalition of Peaks has listened and is now working so that governments also hear [Indigenous peoples’] voice and put the priority reforms at the heart of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap,” she said.
A partnership agreement on Closing the Gap was agreed by the Coalition of Australian Governments (COAG) and the Coalition of Peaks in March last year.
This came after 14 peak Indigenous organisations wrote to federal, state and territory leaders twice in 2018 to insist that COAG not agree any changes to Closing the Gap without formal input and support from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
The most recent Closing the Gap progress report revealed only two of seven targets were on track.