Today’s release of the State of Reconciliation in Australia report reveals that while the nation has developed a strong foundation for reconciliation, significant challenges remain.
Launched by Reconciliation Australia, the 2016 State of Reconciliation Report measures our progress toward reconciliation against five dimensions: race relations, equality and equity, institutional integrity, unity, and historical acceptance.
The Report sees support for reconciliation growing across all sectors of the community. The Report cites significant milestones over the last 25 years, including the establishment of native title, Closing the Gap, the national Apology and progress towards constitutional recognition of First Australians.
“There is a national conversation taking place about our shared identity, and increasing support for national reconciliation throughout Australian society. However, there are still many hard conversations before us,” said Reconciliation Australia CEO Justin Mohamed.
The Report finds that almost all Australians (86 per cent) believe the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians is important. Yet Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples still experience high levels of racial prejudice and discrimination, and trust between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians remains unacceptably low.
“As a nation of peoples, we don’t always agree on the impacts of the past, and what we can do to change this in the future. Today’s Report provides a clear blueprint for a reconciled Australia in which we can all equally participate,” Mr Mohamed said.
The Report includes a series of recommendations to advance Australia towards reconciliation. These include, but are not limited to, zero tolerance for racism, renewed focus on Closing the Gap, and reaffirmed recognition and respect for the rights of First Australians.
“We all have a lot to gain from progressing reconciliation,” Mr Mohamed said. “Until we achieve reconciliation, Australia will fall short of its full potential as a nation.”
The State of Reconciliation in Australia report is the first of its kind since the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation provided its final report to government in 2000.