High hopes for new Closing the Gap agreement

Cynthia Rowan (The Catholic Leader)

Birra Gubba woman Cynthia Rowan has high hopes for a revamped Closing the Gap agreement aimed at substantially improving life outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Source: The Catholic Leader.

“I think it’s a great document, but the implementation of it is going to be the challenge for service delivery to indigenous people,” said Ms Rowan, a parishioner of Bracken Ridge in Brisbane and long-time Church worker.

The agreement completely resets targets set in 2008 – which have largely failed to be met – and promises greater Indigenous involvement in leading target implementation and measuring progress.

The new Closing the Gap agreement sets 16 new targets to be achieved in the next 10 years – the result of government and indigenous organisations spending two years in consultation and a further year in negotiations.

For the first time, Australia will commit to reducing Indigenous imprisonment rates, suicides and child removals.

There are also targets for out-of-home care, land and sea rights, language and housing. The ambitious goal to reduce the number of Indigenous children in care by 45 per cent is a target that many in the Indigenous community have fought to include for decades.

Ms Rowan said for the new targets to succeed governments would need to empower and support community organisations to deliver services to indigenous people, where they lived.

“A place-based approach does work,” she said.

“I liked the wording ‘treated as equal around the table’ and that’s a challenge for government to share that authority with other people.”


Brisbane Aboriginal woman has high hopes for new Closing the Gap agreement (By Mark Bowling, The Catholic Leader

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