Thursday, 13 February 2020
Closing the Gap
That the Senate—
(a) notes that the Closing the Gap Report 2020 shows that we are on track to meet just 2 of the 7 targets to reduce the disparity in health, education and employment outcomes between First Nations peoples and non-Indigenous peoples;
(i) the important work being done between the Council of Australian Governments and the Coalition of Peaks to develop a new National Agreement on Closing the Gap, and
(ii) that punitive measures like compulsory income management, the Cashless Debit Card, the Northern Territory Intervention, and the Community Development Program are inconsistent with this new approach;
(c) further notes the failure to implement recommendations from significant reports, such as:
(ii) Bringing Them Home: Report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from their Families; and
(iii) Royal Commission into the Detention and Protection of Children in the Northern Territory; and
(d) calls on the Federal Government to abandon punitive measures and to commit to a genuine process of self-determination to close the gap.
The Morrison government, through the leadership of the Prime Minister, is bringing together COAG and the Coalition of Peaks to deliver the new partnership agreement. Our Closing the Gap refresh will deliver shared responsibility and accountability. We are taking the time to ensure Indigenous Australians are empowered and in a genuine position to make informed decisions. We must be careful not to adopt a deficit mindset, because on almost every measure we have made progress.