2018 Closing the Gap Report

Media release
12 Feb 2018
Prime Minister, Minister for Indigenous Affairs
Indigenous Affairs

The tenth Closing the Gap report is the most promising snapshot since 2011 - with three of the seven targets on track to be met including the target to halve child mortality.

The report, tabled today, show health and education outcomes improving. In addition to the target to halve child mortality, the targets for early childhood education and Year 12 attainment are both on track.

This demonstrates the power of a collaborative approach between governments and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Even where targets are not on track, we have achieved solid progress in many areas compared with a decade ago.

Immunisation rates are higher, levels of antenatal care are increasing, circulatory disease has declined, and smoking rates are down.

While we celebrate these important accomplishments, it remains clear we need to continue to work in partnership with Indigenous communities to deliver improved outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people into the future.

With four of the existing targets expiring this year, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) is working in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to refresh the Closing the Gap agenda.  

A renewed approach to Closing the Gap will be underpinned by the needs and aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. We have heard very clearly the need for jurisdictional specific targets to give more granularity to improvements, and help focus efforts where we need to accelerate progress.

The success of the Indigenous Procurement Policy (IPP) shows what we can achieve together when we set targets for which we have sole responsibility. The IPP target was achieved three years ahead of schedule and has now eclipsed $1 billion in contracts to Indigenous businesses since it was launched two-and-a-half years ago, up from just $6.2 million in 2012-13.

The Indigenous Business Sector Strategy, launched today, is a new suite of initiatives to ensure sustainable economic success for Indigenous owned-and-run businesses. New Indigenous Business Hubs will become one-stop shops for business advice and support, and a new $27 million Indigenous Entrepreneurs Capital Scheme will unlock a wider range of finance and capital.

More microfinance will ensure that Indigenous Australians in regional and remote Australia have access to the advice and capital they need to turn their idea into a new business.

Also launched today, the Indigenous Grants Policy (IGP) will pilot a new approach to Indigenous service delivery. The new IGP will apply the principles of the IPP to our service delivery funding, to increase the number of Indigenous owned and controlled organisations delivering the billions worth of grants that are intended to benefit Indigenous Australians.

A new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Land and Sea Future Fund represents a significant reform in the land rights journey of our country, as the $2 billion land acquisition fund set up following the Mabo (No 2) decision has been plagued with poor returns, meaning lost opportunities for the Indigenous Estate. Our reform will see the fund transferred to the Future Fund, delivering a $1.5 billion benefit over 20 years.

These additional funds will also mean that the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC), the Commonwealth agency that acquires land on behalf of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians can now have its remit expanded to include sea country.

We will move the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) into the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to play a more strategic role in informing the government on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and languages.

These new initiatives have been the result of extensive nationwide consultations and demonstrates the Turnbull Government’s commitment to working with First Australians to deliver a prosperous future.