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Since its first incarnation in 2008, the Closing Gap framework has, in essence, been focused on health. Over the final decades of the 20th century an increased focus by government — including the transfer of Indigenous issues from state to federal responsibility, and the controversial Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) era — failed to make notable improvement to Indigenous health outcomes.
Following a period of advocacy by key peak Indigenous organisations, a formal Closing the Gap (CTG) framework was eventually adopted by state and federal governments. Headlining this was the commitment by the Coalition of Australian Governments (COAG) in December 2007 to closing the gap in life expectancy.
This paper triangulates the historical and scientific sub-strata behind Indigenous Australia’s health gaps in an effort to better decode the real reasons for these gaps. Discussion is based on the current Closing the Gap framework’s health targets — Life Expectancy (Outcome 1) and Pregnancy and Healthy Birth (Outcome 2) — with the paper seeking to use these understandings to help illuminate the way forward to more real, root cause-based, outputs and outcomes.