First Nations organisations are calling on governments to take action on closing the gap with only 4 of the 17 targets on track.
First Nations organisations are demanding greater efforts by governments to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples after the release of the 2022 Closing the Gap report revealed that only four of the seventeen targets, set to improve the disadvantage experienced by First Nations peoples, are on track.
The report found that four targets (children’s school-readiness, incarceration rates, suicide rates, and child-removal rates) are going backwards.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are being removed at greater rates than ever before. More than 22,000 children every year with only 16% of these reunited with family, and less than half are placed with First Nations carers.
The Family Matters coalition has called for a decisive First Nations voice to be heard in formulating policies for children. The peak body for First Nations children, SNAICC, argues that there are better outcomes for children and families “where (First Nations organisations) are given authority in child protection, where families have a voice in decision-making, and where there are accessible, culturally safe child and family services and supports.”
The 2022 Australian Reconciliation Barometer has found that Australians support the need for First Nations empowerment, with 93% of all Australians agreeing that it is important that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a say in things that affect them, and most Australians believe that governments and the private sector need to do more to close the gap.
The Closing the Gap framework was established 14 years ago, and more recently the National Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap was formed in collaboration with the Coalition of Peaks to build on the 2008 framework, and change the way governments work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to achieve life outcomes equal to all Australians.
And while we are seeing some significant improvement in Closing the Gap outcomes, the Australian public still believes there is a need for greater First Nations control and for governments to do more.
Read the Family Matters Report 2022.