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Closing the gap: far better progress needed on missed targets

Save the Children stresses importance of greater Indigenous voice on matters affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people  
13 February 2020

Despite improvements in some areas, Save the Children is frustrated that five out of seven Closing the Gap targets are not being met, as revealed in the 12th annual progress report released today.
The child rights agency also highlights the importance of the new Closing the Gap framework including targets addressing the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in both the criminal justice system and out-of-home care. 
As revealed in the 2019 Family Matters Report, Indigenous children are now over 10 times more likely to be removed from their families than non-Indigenous children.
Save the Children Executive Director of Australian Services Matt Gardiner said current progress was unacceptable. 
“Today’s report shows that the rate of progress is far too slow. We must do more to close the enormous gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. We cannot sit by and watch another generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children grow up without the same opportunities as their non-Indigenous peers,” Mr Gardiner said.
Integral to progress on Closing the Gap is the genuine inclusion of Aboriginal people in the process, including the appointment of a National Commissioner for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people.
“We welcome and look forward to the Closing the Gap framework refresh, being developed in partnership by government and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak organisations, which will allow greater self-determination and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to have real control over issues which affect them and their children,” Mr Gardiner said.
Save the Children welcomes the progress being made across the two targets on track to be met – early childhood education attendance and year 12 certificate attainment – and supports further investment in these critical targets, including the Federal Government’s announcement that it will develop a national Indigenous early childhood strategy this year. 
As the Prime Minister highlighted in his speech tabling the report, programs such as Connected Beginnings are making a difference in Indigenous communities like Doomadgee, where Save the Children is working to support children in their earliest years.
Save the Children is a signatory of the Redfern Statement and has publicly supported the Uluru Statement, both of which are informed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership and communities.
Save the Children has had a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) since 2011 and is currently working on building a ‘Stretch RAP’ to accelerate its journey towards Reconciliation. View the 2016-2019 RAP here.
For interviews, call Jess Brennan on 0421 334 918 or Evan Schuurman on 0406 117 937.

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