Policy change needed to close the gap

media-releases

The Australian Greens said today it is very disappointing that stronger progress has not been made towards reaching closing the gap targets and that efforts need to reach the goal by 2031.

"Today's report from the COAG Reform Council shows that we're nowhere near close enough to being able to close the gap by 2031 and I am concerned things will not improve if the Coalition does not move away from the ineffective, top-down policy approach of the past," Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

"Just last week, the Government's talk of a truancy crack-down did not include any mention of strategies to target the factors that play a role in low levels of school attendance, such as hearing health, improved delivery of early childhood and primary education or better educational and social support services for disadvantaged families. Most importantly ensuring community are involved in decision making.

"This punitive approach needs to change if we are to deliver on our commitments to close the gap.

"In particular, Governments at every level need to commit to working cooperatively with each other and with communities to develop and deliver properly funded programs that address disadvantage. It is incumbent on Tony Abbott to be a leader in this process, especially if he is to live up to his commitment to be the Prime Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

"The Prime Minister needs to respond directly to today's progress report and explain what steps he will now take," Senator Siewert concluded.