Federal government to release annual Closing the Gap report

Government releases annual Closing the Gap report on anniversary of national apology

closing the gap

Today’s 16-year anniversary of the national apology to the stolen generations comes at a time of particular significance for the progression of Indigenous rights in Australia. 

The anniversary comes a week after a recent major review of the Closing the Gap agreement where the Productivity Commission warned that policies meant to improve life for First Nations people will fail without fundamental government changes. 

The government is scheduled to table their annual report today on the progress of the policies and programs tied to the National Agreement on Closing the Gap. This report will analyse progress from 2023. The government will also present the next Closing the Gap Implementation plan to outline the new actions they’re taking to improve the lives of Indigenous Australians. 

“The entrenched inequality experienced by many Indigenous Australians is completely unacceptable,” said Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney. “And unfortunately, actions so far have not led to the change needed.”

“The first Productivity Commission Review on the National Agreement on Closing the Gap makes it clear that all governments need to do better– states, territories and the Commonwealth,” she said. “We’ll work with the Coalition of Peace and across governments to consider the findings of the report.”

Marking today’s significant anniversary, Burney met with members of the Stolen Generations and their families in Canberra.

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The national program amplifying the voices of the Stolen Generation– The Healing Foundation– has said that as the government’s annual progress report on Closing the Gap policies is handed down today, “we must recognise that Stolen Generations survivors are a ‘gap within the gap’, a statistical indicator of truth not reconciled.”

As Stolen Generations survivors age, urgency grows,” the Foundation said in a statement. 

“We must ensure consistent and adequate compensation is seen by survivors in their lifetime. And with many survivors sadly passing away, there is no time to waste.”

“We invite Australians to stand alongside Stolen Generations survivors as we renew our call for the counting of actions, not anniversaries.”

Labor announces $707m job program for Indigenous Australians

The Albanese Government has also announced it will invest $707 million in a new Remote Jobs program that will create 3,000 jobs over the next three years.  

This new program is meant to replace the widely-criticised Community Development Program (CDP). 

Speaking to these developments, Assistant Minister for Indigenous Australians, Malarndirri McCarthy told the ABC that the CDP is currently the sole employment opportunity for most First Nations people in remote areas, but over the last 5-10 years, it’s had “some really serious problems”.

“When we came to government, we said we needed to look at the CDP program and abolish it because we recognised it didn’t have superannuation, it didn’t have holiday leave– it didn’t have all the entitlements that come with supporting workers.”

“So this is our first step,” she says, adding that the Prime Minister’s announcement today is “significant” as they embark on the future of this Remote Job program. 

The government says the program will start in the second half of this year, and will be “grounded in self determination”, allowing communities to decide what jobs are created, such as in community services and the care sector, hospitality and tourism, horticulture and retail.


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