In December 2007, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to a partnership between all levels of government to work with Indigenous communities to ‘Close the Gap’ in Indigenous disadvantage (COAG, 2007). To achieve this target, a number of agreements, strategies and statements of intent were developed to provide the framework for the implementation of reforms.
Closing the Gap is a framework for action on disadvantage, which recognises that reducing Indigenous disadvantage requires a coordinated and sustained effort from all governments. The National Indigenous Reform Agreement (NIRA), endorsed by the COAG in 2008, commits all state and territory governments and the Commonwealth government to six ambitious’ Closing the Gap’ targets.
One of the six targets COAG endorsed was to close the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a generation. In 2008, COAG’s commitment to address this target was formalised in an historic $1.57 billion National Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health Outcomes (the NPA). The NPA has been implemented alongside other National Agreements, including the National Healthcare Agreement, the National Disability Agreement, the Hospital and Health Workforce Reform National Partnership Agreement, the Preventative Health National Partnership Agreement and the Indigenous Economic Participation National Partnership Agreement.
The Victorian Closing the Gap in Health Outcomes (CtHG) Initiative is one component of Victoria’s contribution to the national efforts to close the gap in Indigenous disadvantage. CtHG built on existing frameworks within Victoria to address Indigenous disadvantage, and was designed to strategically align with both national and state targets to reduce the disparity in health outcomes between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Victorians. CtHG was established in 2009/10 and concluded in June 2013.
Urbis was commissioned by the Victorian Department of Health to undertake the evaluation of the Closing the Gap in Health Outcomes initiative in Victoria, over the three-year period from 2010-2013. The evaluation has focussed on four key questions:
- how effectively the Initiative has been implemented in Victoria
- the extent to which the targets have been achieved
- whether current projects represent the most appropriate, effective and efficient means for achieving these goals
- the extent to which a community-driven approach has been adopted and effective in the regional implementation of the initiative.
The findings of the evaluation have been reported regularly throughout the three-year period, with a final report (this report) to be completed in January 2014.
In December 2012 an interim progress report was provided. The interim report identified risks or challenges to be addressed in the final six months of funding, and detailed achievements of the initiative to date.
This report is the final report of the evaluation, and synthesises the evaluation findings of all previous reports, as well as recent data, to provide an overarching summative analysis of the effectiveness, appropriateness and impact of Victoria’s investment into closing the gap in Aboriginal health outcomes.
This report was prepared by Urbis for the Victorian Department of Health.