Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage 2009 is the fourth report in a series commissioned by heads of Australian governments in 2002, to provide regular reporting against key indicators of Indigenous disadvantage.
In March this year, the terms of reference were updated in a letter from the Prime Minister. The new terms of reference reaffirm governments’ commitment to being accountable for improved outcomes for Indigenous Australians, with the OID serving as a public report card on progress against the COAG targets and other significant indicators.
The new terms of reference align the OID framework with COAG’s six high level targets for Closing the Gap in Indigenous outcomes. The structure of the aligned framework remains very similar to that of previous reports, but highlights the COAG targets and priority areas for reform, as well as including additional indicators. The Steering Committee will be consulting further on the new framework.
The OID aims to help governments address the disadvantage that limits the opportunities and choices of many Indigenous people. However, it is important to recognise that most Indigenous people live constructive and rewarding lives, contributing to their families and wider communities. That said, across nearly all the
indicators in the OID, there are wide gaps in outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. While the gaps are narrowing in some areas, in too many cases outcomes are not improving, or are even deteriorating. We still have a long way to go to fulfil COAG’s commitment to close the gap in Indigenous
Data from the past two Censuses show that Indigenous people have shared in the general economic prosperity of the past decade, with increases in employment, incomes and home ownership. A key challenge will be preserving and building on these gains and closing the gaps in a more difficult economic climate. In areas such as criminal justice, outcomes for Indigenous people have been deteriorating. Indigenous people and governments are grappling with ways to identify and address the underlying drivers of these outcomes.