What targets and policies does your party have to address areas not yet met in the ‘Closing the Gap’ program, particularly in relation to high incarceration rates for women and children, and health and education both in outcomes and access?
We do not seek to impose targets on indigenous affairs matters. It is time to go beyond symbolic gestures to implement significant changes that will genuinely improve health, education and welfare outcomes for indigenous Australians.
The Greens are working with First Nations peoples to introduce measures that support self-determination and recognise sovereignty. A key part of this is ensuring First Nations peoples having control over the development, design and implementation of public policies, programs and services that affect them.
We want urgent action to reduce the unacceptable incarceration rates of First Nations peoples. We are joining First Nations organisations in calling for the adoption of national justice targets to close the gap in the rates of imprisonment of First Nations peoples by 2031. We support establishing a national justice reinvestment body and a justice reinvestment grants program in partnership with First Nations peoples.
We support restoring funding cut following the introduction of the Indigenous Advancement Strategy. We are using this funding to boost First Nations health funding to achieve equality in health outcomes. It is essential that we address the underlying causes of disadvantage, particularly intergenerational trauma.
We also support culturally appropriate education for First Nations peoples, which incorporates language and culture into curricula and supports families and children to engage with the education system. This includes enabling First Nations peoples to establish and control their own education systems where they choose to do so. We believe the Government should provide more support to increase the number of First Nations peoples entering higher education.
In 2007, following the apology to the Stolen Generations, Labor established the Close the Gap Framework, the first national framework for overcoming Indigenous disadvantage.
We accompanied that commitment with record investment in initiatives to close the gap in life expectancy, child mortality, education and employment outcomes and overcrowding. Unfortunately, after a decade, the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians continues to be too wide.
In 20017, the Government announced that it would undertake a refresh of the strategy. Two years later, that refresh is still only beginning, with COAG agreeing in December 2018 to establish Coalition of First Nations organisations to negotiate the refresh. Despite the long delay, Labor supports the Coalition of Peaks, and commits to working with them to revitalise the Close the Gap Framework.
Labor has long been calling for new targets to be added to the Close the Gap Framework. In 2013, we called for a new Justice Target, and a new Target on Higher Education. We continue to support these additions.
However, while these Targets are important, it is clear that we need to do more to co-design programs and policies with First Nations peoples that will improve progress against the targets.
It is clear a new approach is needed. A Shorten Labor Government will work with the Coalition of Peaks to revitalise the Framework and work towards achieving true equality for First Nations people.
This will include, amongst other things, tackling high rates of incarceration through greater investment in justice reinvestment, immediately convening a Nations Summit on First Nations Children, to address high rates of child removal and juvenile incarceration. Labor will also invest additional resources in early learning and schools, as well as a range of health initiatives that will help ensure First Nations peoples can live happy, healthy lives.
Labor wants to ensure that First Nations peoples have a more genuine say in the design and delivery of policies and programs that affect their lives. Only by working in partnership with First Nations peoples can we genuinely close the gap and achieve a reconciled Australia.
The Morrison Government is committed to ensuring that the next phase of Closing the Gap is developed as a genuine partnership between all governments and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The Government has entered a formal partnership with the Coalition of Indigenous Peak Organisations, and will work with them and state and territory governments to finalise the Closing the Gap framework and targets by mid-year.
The Partnership Agreement recognises that in order to effect real change governments must work collaboratively and in genuine, formal partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as they are the essential agents of change.
To support this historic partnership, the Government will deliver 5+.6 m¡ll¡on to the Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Organisations to ensure the representatives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander Australians are able to engage and negotiate as equal partners with governments to design and monitor Closing the Gap.
The refreshed Closing the Gap framework and targets will be finalised through the joint Council by mid-2019, ahead of endorsement by the Council of Australian Governments.
In regard to Indigenous Affairs, One Nation acknowledges that many Indigenous people have the worst living standard, life expectancy and life prospects of any Australians. However assistance should be provided on the basis of relative need and not simply indigeneity.