Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are strong, smart and resilient. We are the experts on closing the gaps that were created by colonisation and led to poorer life outcomes for our peoples.
As part of the NSW Coalition of Aboriginal Peak Organisations, the ALS is involved in the new Closing the Gap process. Find out more below.
What is the Closing the Gap National Agreement?
In July 2020, the Coalition of Peaks together with Australian governments signed the new National Agreement on Closing the Gap (National Agreement). The National Agreement is a ten-year agreement built around what Aboriginal people said is important to improve their lives.
What is the focus of the National Agreement?
The National Agreement on Closing the Gap is built around priority reforms to change the way in which governments work with Aboriginal people. The priority reforms are:
- Formal partnerships and shared decision-making
- Building the community-controlled sector
- Transforming government organisations
- Shared access to data and information at a regional level
- Economic prosperity, business growth and employment (NSW-specific)
The National Agreement also includes 17 socio-economic targets that have an impact on life outcomes for Aboriginal people. The targets are:
- Close the gap on life expectancy
- Increase the proportion of Aboriginal babies with a healthy birthweight
- Increase the proportion of Aboriginal children enrolled in early childhood education
- Increase the proportion of Aboriginal children assessed as developmentally on track
- Increase the proportion of Aboriginal people attaining year 12 or equivalent
- Increase the proportion of Aboriginal people who have completed a tertiary qualification
- Increase the proportion of Aboriginal youth who are in employment, education, or training
- Increase the proportion of Aboriginal people aged 25-64 who are employed
- Increase the proportion of Aboriginal people living in appropriately sized housing
- Reduce the rate of Aboriginal adults held in incarceration
- Reduce the rate of Aboriginal young people in detention
- Reduce the rate of over-representation of Aboriginal children in out-of-home care
- Reduce the rate of all forms of family violence and abuse against Aboriginal women and children
- Significant and sustained reduction in suicide of Aboriginal people
- Increase in Australia’s landmass and sea subject to Aboriginal legal rights or interests
- A sustained increase in number and strength of Aboriginal languages being spoken
- Aboriginal people have equal levels of digital inclusion
What's happening in NSW for Closing the Gap?
In April 2021, the NSW Coalition of Aboriginal Peak Organisations engaged with community to listen to Aboriginal people about what is needed to drive the priority reforms. The NSW Community Engagement Report is here.
In June 2021, NSW released its 2021-2022 Implementation Plan, which sets out what actions will be taken to achieve the priority reforms and targets.
Ongoing community engagement is planned over the life of the National Agreement. For updates on upcoming NSW community engagements, see here.
How is the ALS involved in Closing the Gap?
The ALS is involved in the Closing the Gap work as a member of the NSW Coalition of Aboriginal Peak Organisations.
The ALS and the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) are co-chairing a working group focused on addressing the following targets:
- Target 10: By 2031, reduce the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults held in incarceration by at least 15%
- Target 11: By 2031, reduce the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people (10-17 years) in detention by 30%
- Target 13: By 2031, the rate of all forms of family violence and abuse against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls is reduced by at least 50%, as progress towards zero
The ALS is participating in a number of other working groups focused on various priority reforms and targets. We also sit on the NSW Partnerships Working Group and Joint Council, which oversee the Closing the Gap work.
For more information, please contact [email protected].