Closing the Gap 2018
The annual delivery of the Closing the Gap report by the Prime Minister is an important event in Australia and for all Australians.
Delivered on the 12 February, this year’s report was the tenth delivered to parliament. Each year, targets are set in key areas of improvement and for the first time since 2011, three out of the seven targets were on track to be met.
With four of the seven targets due to expire this year, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to refresh the Closing the Gap agenda.
As part of the Closing the Gap Refresh, a Special Gathering of approximately 80 prominent Indigenous Australians met in Canberra on Wednesday 6 February. They discussed priorities for the next decade of Closing the Gap.
The following day, the Prime Minister and First Ministers joined the Special Gathering. The meeting concluded with a statement from the Special Gathering, which was presented to the COAG meeting on Friday 8 February.
COAG agreed all governments will undertake community consultations on the refresh before agreeing to a new Closing the Gap framework, national and state targets and performance indicators by 31 October 2018.
In addition to the nation-wide community consultations, digital consultation invites all Australians to share their views on the future of Closing the Gap.
A number of events took place on Monday 12 February in parallel with the release of the Closing the Gap report.
The Indigenous Marathon Foundation hosted the Closing the Gap Fun Run and Walk around Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra to support the successful impact sport and recreation programs have in Indigenous communities.
The Economic Showcase was held at Parliament House. At this event, the Prime Minister announced the Indigenous Business Sector Strategy (IBSS). The IBSS will help more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people build sustainable businesses that will support themselves, their families and their communities. It is the first time ever the Commonwealth has invested in a comprehensive package of support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to take their rightful place in the Australian economy.
Later in the day, the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council held a round table with young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to discuss Indigenous affairs and policy issues.
Tuesday 13 February marked the tenth anniversary of the Apology to the Stolen Generations. The Healing Foundation hosted a breakfast and evening concert on the lawns of Parliament House to commemorate this historic event.
The Closing the Gap refresh along with these events remind us that efforts to ‘close the gap’ must come from all Australians, not just their governments.