After a decade of little to no progress, the government is now reaching out for help to hit Close The Gap targets.
The Close The Gap campaign was officially launched back in 2006 with the help of Cathy Freeman and Ian Thorpe. Since that time only one of the 7 key target areas are on track to be met. The 7 key target areas are:
- Close life expectancy gap by 2031 (No changes since 2006/ Possibly worse now)
- Halve Indigenous infant mortality rates by 2018 (rate hasn’t improved since 2008)
- 95% of Indigenous four year-olds receiving Early Childhood Education (Target revised)
- Close Indigenous school attendance rates by 2018 (no improvement between 2014-16)
- Halve the gap for Indigenous NAPLAN results (Only year 9 results are on track)
- Halve the gap of Indigenous people reaching year 12 (On track)
- Halve the gap for Indigenous employment (rates have not improved since 2008)
It is now 2018 and some of the target dates have expired without any major progress. Late last year the government put out a call for a Close the Gap refresh. This refresh is basically the government saying we have no idea. Until March 31 you can have your say by answering key discussion questions or you can even write your own submission letter if you have ideas that are not covered within the questions.
Some of the questions show just how out of touch the government is, for example: Should Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander culture be incorporated into the Closing the Gap framework? However other questions suggest that the government may be interested in creating new target areas.
Will you make a submission? Let’s make our voices loud and clear before the March 31 deadline. I personally feel the government should be investing in educational campaigns in schools and the media to help break down racism and prejudice that has real world consequences in health, education and employment. Also having an Indigenous elected (not nominated) Indigenous affairs minister would be another logical step.