The 10th Closing the Gap Report has identified that Queensland is making progress on a number of targets including improved health and education outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders.
Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Jackie Trad said that while there was encouraging progress the report emphasised that we must all do more to close the gap.
“We acknowledge that, while some progress has been made in closing the gap on disadvantage between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, more needs to be done,” Ms Trad said.
“We have seen here in Queensland the positive impacts of targeted, lasting investment, particularly in education outcomes.
“But to keep improving we need real commitment from the Commonwealth. We can’t do it alone. It is time that the Turnbull Government followed our lead.
“We need the Turnbull Government to invest more into key programs to close the gap. Indigenous Queenslanders need housing, they need specialist health services, and they need educational opportunities.
“That’s why it is so disappointing to see the Turnbull LNP Government preparing to cut funding to remote indigenous housing.
“If they cut this funding they would be the first government to cut funding for remote housing in fifty years.
“It’s not good enough. Ten years on from Kevin Rudd’s landmark apology to the Stolen Generation all governments should be redoubling their efforts, not cutting funding and watering down targets.
“It’s my commitment that our Palaszczuk Labor Government will walk the walk, not just talk the talk, on closing the gap.”
Queensland is Closing the Gap:
- Between 2006 and 2016 the proportion of Indigenous 20–24 year olds in Queensland with Year 12 or equivalent attainment increased from 56.2 per cent to 71.2 per cent
- From 2012 to 2017, the retention rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in high school in Queensland improved by 11.7 percentage points to be 73.8 per cent, well ahead of the national average retention rate of 62.4 per cent.
- Improvements made in pre-school enrolment with 87.7 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children enrolled in 2016.
- A continuing long-term decline in mortality rates for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (a 20 per cent decline from 1998 to 2015) and importantly for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children under 5 years old (a 22 per cent decline since 2005) in Queensland
Ms Trad said the Palaszczuk Government was funding programs to Close the Gap in education, skills, jobs and economic opportunity, including:
- Boost the budget of Skilling Queenslanders for Work to $80 million in 2018–19, an extra $20 million from its previous funding, while also extending the initiative for another two years into 2020–21 with a further $160 million
- $6 million for tenure resolution and capital works to build local jobs, skills development and economic opportunities in Indigenous communities.
- $6 million in education scholarships to support 3,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander high school students.
- $1.2 million for the Youth Employment Program in Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton and Toowoomba to assist students and job seekers transition into work, training or higher education.
- $616,000 to start Queensland’s first social reinvestment pilot program in Aboriginal communities to support community-led initiatives.
Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships
The Honourable Jackie Trad