Independent Education Union of Australia
IEU Speaks - March 2017
In 2006, Australia’s peak Indigenous and non-Indigenous health bodies, non-government organisations and human rights organisations initiated the Close the Gap Campaign to achieve equality for health and life expectancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by 2030.
Close The Gap Campaign
The campaign was deemed necessary as Australia has one of the world’s worse life expectancy gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
As a response, the National Indigenous Reform Agreement was agreed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG). The Reform Agreement outlined two health/medical goals and four educational/employment goals to be achieved in partnership with Indigenous community and health organisations. A further education target related to school attendance rates was added in May 2014.
These goals were to:
• Improve Indigenous life expectancy to the Australian average by 2031;
• Halve the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous mortality rates;
• Ensure that 95% of all Indigenous four year olds are enrolled in early childhood education by 2025 (revised goal);
• Close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous school attendance by 2018;
• Halve the gap in reading, writing and numeracy achievements for Indigenous students by 2018;
• Halve the gap for Indigenous students in Year 12 (or equivalent) attainment rates by 2020; and
• Halve the gap in employment outcomes between Indigenous and other Australians by 2018.
How Are We Doing? Failing!
The Closing the Gap Report (2017), released in February 2017, shows that little progress has been achieved over the past 12 months nor since the National Indigenous Reform Agreement was established in 2008.
At present only one target is on track to being achieved, with some areas declining. The following table outlines the progress being made in each of the targets.