In 2018, Closing the Gap remains a shared commitment. It is the story of a shared journey to continue to work together and enable and empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to live healthy and prosperous lives.
This journey continues to draw on the enduring wisdom, strength and resilience learned over thousands of years of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander civilisation. The past 10 years of Closing the Gap have also provided governments with valuable lessons.
One of the key lessons we have learned is that effective programs and services need to be designed, developed and implemented in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Governments have also recognised the importance of taking a far more holistic approach involving agencies from across government to develop policies and deliver services to First Australians.
The Closing the Gap framework was established in 2008 to address Indigenous disadvantage. Ten years on, the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have improved but more gains need to be made. It is clear that continued effort and action is required.
The Closing the Gap framework provides an annual national snapshot of progress made against the targets – and helps maintain our collective focus. While acknowledging this, it is important to recognise the success and achievements of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, demonstrating that when equal opportunities are provided, disadvantage can be overcome.
The chapters in this report detail the progress made against the seven Closing the Gap targets – and focus on health, education, employment and community safety. They also showcase a range of Indigenous success stories – from inspiring individuals, to growing businesses and organisations making a positive difference to their communities.
All of the Closing the Gap targets are interconnected. Progress in one area helps progress to be made in others.
For instance, improving education standards helps to increase employment rates and levels of health. And community safety is fundamental to ensuring children attend school and adults maintain employment.