In 2008, the Coalition of Australian Governments (COAG) launched Closing the Gap, a national framework that aims to provide a coordinated strategy to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The Closing the Gap strategy works to seven target areas; child mortality, early childhood education, school attendance, reading and numeracy, year 12 or equivalent attainment and employment and life expectancy.
Each year the Prime Minister makes his Closing the Gap Report to Parliament and accounts for how each target is tracking.
After 10 years of Closing the Gap, the strategy has not had sufficient success in closing the health gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous people.
In fact, after some early positive success it appears that the life expectancy is once again widening.
In early 2018, the Turnbull Government announced the ‘Refresh’ of Closing the Gap, in recognition that the strategy needed to be reconsidered and with new commitment to the targets.
After nearly two years of the Refresh process, the Morrison Government, through COAG, agreed to the calls from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak organisations to enter into a formal partnership with First Nations leaders.
With upcoming state and Federal elections, this is a crucial time for the future of Closing the Gap and its place as a national policy priority.
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