PM Delivers "Closing the Gap" Report

Australia still struggling to improve Aboriginal lives says report

Tuesday is the 10th anniversary of one of the most cathartic and emotional events in our nation's history, the official apology by then newly elected prime minister Kevin Rudd to the Stolen Generations of Indigenous Australians.

There was also progress in the aim to have 95 percent of all indigenous four-year-olds enrolled in early childhood education by 2025, and on improving the number of Aboriginals who finish high school by 2020 with a recognised qualification.

The government's Closing The Gap report tracks targets aimed at reducing inequality between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.

But overall school attendance goals were not being met and nor was the proportion of indigenous children achieving national minimum standards in reading and numeracy.

The tenth annual "Closing the Gap" report said Australia was failing to meet its targets in four-out-of-seven measures.

"The continuing weight and meaning of the apology comes from what we do now, from our actions, from the change we drive, the gaps we close and the unfinished business we resolve".

"A couple of simple things have turned it around", he told the ABC.

The Closing the Gap strategy was established a decade ago under the Rudd Government, but is now undergoing a "refresh" from the Turnbull Government.

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Wyatt has rejected suggestions the original targets were too ambitious.

"The reality is that when you have policies across generations of people created to remove the identity, created to disconnect them from family and culture, is that those impacts over generations will be felt for generations", Mr Wyatt said.

"What I like about the refresh is it gives us a chance to look at the targets, are they the rights targets or do we define them, like child mortality, in a slightly different way", he said.

The new report was confirmed by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to indicate advancement, even if it doesn't include all area.

But the report made public on Monday shows the government struggling to meet majority of its targets, including a bid to close the 10-year gap in life expectancy between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians by 2031. Other states and territories, bar Victoria, have similar compensation schemes.

But he also announced the extension of a successful policy that has allowed indigenous businesses to win more than A$1 billion ($1.08b) in government contracts since 2015.

"Compensation is about resolving some of the unfinished business of the apology".

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