Talk to us

CathNews, the most frequently visited Catholic website in Australia, is your daily news service featuring Catholics and Catholicism from home and around the world, Mass on Demand and on line, prayer, meditation, reflections, opinion, and reviews. And, what's more - it's free!

Linda Burney (Facebook/Linda Burney)

Australia is going backwards on key Closing the Gap targets, with rates of Indigenous suicide, adult incarceration and children in out-of-home care getting worse. Source:

Sobering new data on eight of the targets released by the Productivity Commission today revealed that while there had been modest improvements in the life expectancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, it’s not been enough to put the goal of ending the gap by 2031 on track.

Of the 19 targets, five were on track – up from four – but three were trending backwards, and one had no improvement.

Indigenous Australians Minster Linda Burney welcomed the revelation that the target of 91 per cent of Indigenous babies being born with healthy birth weight was now on track, having reached 89.6 per cent in 2021.

But five months on from the failed Voice to Parliament referendum, the data painted a bleak overall picture of the state of the gap, with Ms Burney conceding there was “still a long way to go”.

The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in prison has risen, pushing the target of reducing the rate by at least 15 per cent by 2031 further from reality.

It’s a similar story for the number of Indigenous people taking their own life, with about 29.9 per 100,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people dying by suicide in 2022 across NSW, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory.

This was higher than the rate of the previous two years, and above the 2018 baseline of 25.1.

Assistant Indigenous Australians Minister Malarndirri McCarthy said the data showed progress in some areas, but it wasn’t enough to “carry through to other positive life outcomes” for First Nations people.

“We need to do more to address the unacceptable results we continue to see, such as the number of children in out-of-home care and incarceration rates for First Nations youth and adults,” she said.


Closing the gap targets ‘worsening’, Productivity Commission report finds (By Ellen Ransley,

National FREE 24/7 Crisis Services: • Lifeline 13 11 14 • Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 • Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 • MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78 • Beyond Blue Support Service 1300 22 4636