It’s time to consult Indigenous Australians: Scullion

Screenshot from a Closing the Gap promotional video (YouTube/IndigenousGovAu)

The Turnbull Government is canvassing the views of Aboriginal Australians as it revamps its Closing the Gap agenda, recognising the original targets were created without consultation, reports.

The Commonwealth has begun an overhaul of the strategy after failing to significantly improve First Nations outcomes in life expectancy, mortality, health, education and employment for nearly a decade.

"In 2008, the original Closing the Gap targets were developed without consultation from indigenous Australians and without the direct involvement of state and territory governments," Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion said.

"Targets were not as effective or as well directed as they should have been."

Only one of the seven national key indicators is on track and four will expire in 2018, with some stagnating and others going backwards.

Senator Scullion said that for the first time the states would establish targets in areas for which they were responsible and prepare action plans to support them.

He has previously resisted calls to include an incarceration target, saying it falls within the domain of the states, but it might now be on the table.

The Coalition is seeking feedback on a vastly different framework that could be broadened to include cultural, community and environmental prosperity goals.

The new approach may consider whether aspirations like home ownership and overcoming trauma should become objectives.

All Australians have been invited to make submissions to a COAG discussion paper investigating whether connection to country, breaking intergenerational transmission of poverty and community safety should also be aims.

Round tables were held in Broome, Dubbo and Cairns in November and December, and more sessions are scheduled in coming months.


Closing the Gap targets face overhaul (

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