The Closing the Gap agreement on improving Indigenous outcomes will fail without fundamental changes, the Productivity Commission has warned, adding that successive governments have “failed to fully grasp” the challenges. Source: The Guardian.
In a scathing report, the Productivity Commission has called for urgent changes to rescue the landmark agreement, accusing the Commonwealth Government of “weak” action on key areas, not fulfilling its promises and a “disregard” for the suggestions of Indigenous communities. It says efforts to eliminate institutional racism in areas like justice and health have “received little effort”.
“Most critically, the Agreement requires government decision-makers to accept that they do not know what is best for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” the Closing the Gap review states.
“Change can be confronting and difficult. But without fundamental change, the Agreement will fail and the gap will remain.”
The Albanese Government has so far resisted revealing its next plans in Indigenous affairs policy, after the unsuccessful referendum for an Indigenous voice last October.
The Productivity Commission report states bluntly that the agreed reforms under Closing the Gap “have not been prioritised by governments”. The four key targets – shared decision-making, building the community-controlled sector, transforming government organisations and sharing access to data – are not being met.
“Although there are pockets of good practice, overall progress against the Priority Reforms has been slow, uncoordinated and piecemeal,” the report states. It accuses governments of paying little attention to the needs of individual communities, following a business-as-usual approach, and having “no strategic approach” on how to meet the targets.
“This makes it near impossible for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and the broader Australian community, to use these plans to hold governments to account,” the Productivity Commission said.
Mr Albanese said yesterday the Government was committed to “making a practical difference on housing, on health, in education” and flagged the Government “will be having more to say” in its response to the Closing the Gap statement’s tabling in Parliament next week.
Closing the Gap will fail without ‘fundamental change’, scathing report finds (By Josh Butler, The Guardian)