Budget 2016: Consultation, long-term planning critical to Closing the Gap
Reconciliation Australia’s recent State of Reconciliation in Australia report emphasises that closing the gap in equality between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous Australians requires strategic long-term government investment and planning.
At this critical juncture in our nation’s history, many of the agreements set between the Federal, State and Territory Governments under the Closing the Gap framework have now come to an end. Reconciliation Australia sees this as a critical opportunity for the Federal Government to engage collaboratively with States and Territories, in consultation with communities, to renew and expand these important investments and agreements.
Reconciliation Australia also welcomes the commitment to support the work of the Referendum Council to undertake national consultations to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Constitution.
Building a stronger future for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians must stem from respectful relationships. Despite significant investment, the roll-out of the Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) has brought about significant angst and confusion for a number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations. In this Reconciliation Australia encourages the government to reaffirm commitments to consultation and collaboration with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations in order to bring about effective, long-term change.
Reconciliation Australia notes that integral representative organisation the National Congress of Australia’s First People’s remains unfunded and while critical areas including justice and health have received no foreseeable increases under the IAS. With view to a shared vision of the future, Reconciliation Australia encourages the Federal government to both engage meaningfully with, and work in genuine partnership with, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their representative bodies.
Strategic, long-term efforts are needed to bring about sustainable outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, and remain vital if we are to achieve reconciliation: before which time Australia will continue to fall short of its potential as a nation.
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