Meeting hosted by the Prime Minister and senior government members with the Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Organisations, Communique

Media statement
25 Jun 2021
Prime Minister, Minister for Indigenous Australians

The Prime Minister today hosted the second roundtable of senior Ministers and the Coalition of Peaks, a representative body made up of more than 50 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled peak organisations.

The Prime Minister noted the joint success of the Australian Government's and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled organisations led by NACCHO in supporting their communities through the COVID pandemic. Continuing leadership in the roll-out of the vaccination strategy is critical and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership is appreciated and recognised by all government members.

The Morrison Government and Coalition of Peaks are working together, with the states and territories and Australian Local Government Association, to implement the new National Agreement on Closing the Gap, signed by all Australian governments in July 2020. Full implementation of the Priority Reforms, together with action on the 17 socio-economic targets, will significantly improve the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The meeting focused on the Commonwealth's first Implementation Plan which sets out the initial actions the Commonwealth is taking to give effect to the National Agreement. The meeting focused on the Priority Reforms, which are transformation for the way governments work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and are key to accelerating progress on closing the gap. Discussion focussed on how the Partnership can continue to evolve and improve. The Commonwealth's Implementation Plan and associated investments will be released in early August.

The Co-Chairs of the Joint Council for Closing the Gap, Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Ken Wyatt MP and Convenor of the Coalition of Peaks, Ms Pat Turner noted the achievements since the meeting in January last year, including the negotiation of the National Agreement and the two new targets on domestic violence and access to information; the joint development of implementation plans by all jurisdictions with the Peaks, which will be provided to the Joint Council in August; the establishment of four sector strengthening working groups to build up vital community-controlled sectors, especially around Early Childhood, Health, Housing and Disability; and the release of the Productivity Commission's data repository and dashboard to monitor progress.

The meeting affirmed the critical work underway to establish the Justice Policy Partnership (the first of five agreed to under the National Agreement), which will establish a joined-up national approach to reduce incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults and young people. The meeting noted the importance of reaching final agreement to the new inland water and community investment targets, as per clause 87b of the National Agreement.

The Coalition of Peaks also noted the importance of focused and joined up approaches to cultural heritage protection, the importance of the Commonwealth's ongoing role in the Northern Territory, the ongoing co-design of an Indigenous Voice and the need for workforce sustainability and skills development amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The Priority Reforms are:

  • Priority Reform 1: Building and strengthening structures that empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to share decision-making to accelerate policy and place-based progress against Closing the Gap;
  • Priority Reform 2: Building formal Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled sectors to deliver closing the gap services;
  • Priority Reform 3: Systemic and structural transformation of mainstream government organisations to improve accountability and respond to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people; and
  • Priority Reform 4: Shared access to data and information by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations to support the achievement of the first three priority reforms.