Closing the Gap Prime Minister's Report 2020


Closing the Gap began in response to a call for governments to commit to achieving equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in health and life expectancy within a generation. In 2020, there is a greater focus on partnership between governments and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It heralds a new way forward, where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people share ownership, responsibility and accountability to drive progress for current and future generations.

The Commonwealth, state, and territory governments, and the Australian Local Government Association, in partnership with representatives of the Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Organisations, are working to develop the new Closing the Gap framework and targets to set the direction for the next ten years.  The new national agreement will be one where all parties commit to achieving the priorities and targets—where there is greater accountability to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities for progress.

Progress against the Closing the Gap targets has been mixed over the past decade. As four targets expire, we can see improvements in key areas, but also areas of concern that require more progress.

  • The target to halve the gap in child mortality rates (by 2018) has seen progress in maternal and child health, although improvements in mortality rates have not been strong enough to meet the target.
  • The target to halve the gap for Indigenous children in reading, writing and numeracy within a decade (by 2018) has driven improvements in these foundational skills, but more progress is required.
  • There has not been improvement in school attendance rates to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous school attendance within five years (by 2018).
  • The national Indigenous employment rate has remained stable against the target to halve the gap in employment outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a decade (by 2018).

Two of the continuing targets are on track.

  • The target to have 95 per cent of Indigenous four year?olds enrolled in early childhood education (by 2025).
  • The target to halve the gap for Indigenous Australians aged 2024 in Year 12 attainment or equivalent (by 2020).
  • The target to close the gap in life expectancy (by 2031) is not on track.
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