Page 662 - Week 02 - Thursday, 16 February 2017
The ACT Government has been a signatory of the Closing the Gap in Indigenous Disadvantage targets since signing the National Indigenous Reform Agreement (NIRA) in 2008 (at Attachment A). The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in December 2007, March 2008 and May 2014 announced the ‘Closing the Gap’ targets. Originally there were six targets with a seventh added in 2014. The targets are:
(a) closing the life expectancy gap within a generation (by 2031)
(b) halving the gap in mortality rates for Indigenous children under five within a decade (by 2018)
(c) ensuring all Indigenous four year olds in remote communities have access to early childhood education within five years (by 2013)
(d) halving the gap for Indigenous students in reading, writing and numeracy within a decade (by 2018)
(e) halving the gap for Indigenous students in year 12 attainment or equivalent attainment rates (by 2020)
(f) halving the gap in employment outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a decade (by 2018)
(g) closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous school attendance within five years (by 2018).
The ACT Government developed and signed an Overarching Bilateral Indigenous Plan (OBIP) with the Commonwealth in 2012 (at Attachment B). The ACT reconfirmed its commitment to closing the gap in Indigenous disadvantage by developing the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Agreement 2015-2018 (the Agreement). The Agreement outlines the strategic direction for improving the life outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people within the ACT (at Attachment C).
The Key Focus Areas outlined in the Agreement are closely aligned to the NIRA Building Blocks but are specifically tailored to represent the gaps identified by ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. COAG’s vision for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians to have the same life opportunities as other Australians is replicated in the Agreement with the goal to ensure all Canberrans receive the opportunities to achieve equitable outcomes in all aspects of their life.
The key outcome identified by the community was ‘Strong Families’. Community stakeholders identified seven key focus areas as critical to strengthening families:
1. cultural identity, which is valued and celebrated by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community of the ACT and the non-Indigenous community;
2. healthy mind, healthy body, which is achieved through culturally appropriate holistic delivery of health, education, justice and community services;
3.feeling safe, which is an aspect of a safe community and is best achieved through early intervention approaches that stop crimes from being committed;