The living conditions, education, employment and life expectancy of regional and remote Indigenous communities are more comparable with those of developing nations. Source: SMH.
A Centre for Independent Studies paper, to be released today, maps the state of these Indigenous communities against the rest of the country.
According to the paper’s author, the deputy mayor of Alice Springs, Jacinta Price, inequity is growing because funding is spent as if all Indigenous Australians experience the same adversities.
The Productivity Commission estimates state and territory governments spent approximately $33.4 billion on First Nations people in 2015-16.
Ms Price said the federal government’s Closing the Gap strategy developed to improve living conditions and the wellbeing for Indigenous Australians “has done very little to address disadvantage for Indigenous Australians living in remote and very remote communities”.
Life expectancy has not improved and school attendance has declined across all states and territories, she said.
The report reveals that in very remote areas, Indigenous school attendance rates are less than two-thirds, below Zambia (69 per cent) and Iraq (76 per cent); Indigenous men in these areas are expected to live 14.3 years less than the typical non-Indigenous male, placing the communities on par with third world countries such as Yemen, Eritrea and Gambia; and education and employment rates are level with countries such as Afghanistan.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs Ken Wyatt acknowledged the previous Closing the Gap framework was “too slow” and says the new national agreement reflects an approach that will create “joint accountability” between governments as well as Indigenous-led organisations.
‘Life and death’: new report shows dire conditions for remote Indigenous communities (By Amelia McGuire, SMH)