Governments must do more to Close the Gap

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.

Find out more about the Family Matters campaign

Find out more about the Close The Gap Campaign

Read the
2022 Closing the Gap report.

Read the Family Matters Report 2022.

Read the 2022 Australian Reconciliation Barometer. 

Paul House with gum leaves and smoke
Paul Girrawah House

Paul Girrawah House has multiple First Nation ancestries from the South-East Canberra region, including the Ngambri-Ngurmal (Walgalu), Pajong (Gundungurra), Wallabollooa (Ngunnawal) and Erambie/Brungle (Wiradyuri) family groups.

Paul acknowledges his diverse First Nation history, he particularly identifies as a descendant of Onyong aka Jindoomang from Weereewaa (Lake George) and Henry ‘Black Harry’ Williams from Namadgi who were both multilingual, essentially Walgalu-Ngunnawal-Wiradjuri speaking warriors and Ngunnawal–Wallaballooa man William Lane aka ‘Billy the Bull’ - Murrjinille.

Paul was born at the old Canberra hospital in the centre of his ancestral country and strongly acknowledges his First Nation matriarch ancestors, in particular his mother Dr Aunty Matilda House-Williams and grandmother, Ms Pearl Simpson-Wedge.

Paul completed a Bachelor of Community Management from Macquarie University, and Graduate Certificate in Wiradjuri Language, Culture and Heritage and Management from CSU.

Paul provided the Welcome to Country for the 47th Opening of Federal Parliament in 2022. Paul is Board Director, Ngambri Local Aboriginal Land Council, Member Indigenous Reference Group, National Museum of Australia and Australian Government Voice Referendum Engagement Group.  

Paul works on country with the ANU, First Nations Portfolio as a Senior Community Engagement Officer

Acknowledgement of Country

Reconciliation Australia acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing  connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this website contains images or names of people who have passed away.

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