Last week, Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull presented the annual Closing the Gap report. This marks 10 years that the framework has been in place and shows how the nation and individual states are progressing against seven targets. The latest data indicates that three of the seven targets are on track to be met. In Western Australia the targets of early childhood education and year 12 or equivalent attainment are on track.
National progress against targets:
- Halve the gap in mortality rates for Indigenous children under five within a decade (by 2018) – On Track.
- 95 per cent of all Indigenous four-year-olds enrolled in early childhood education (by 2025) – On Track.
- Close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous school attendance within five years (by 2018) – Not On Track.
- Halve the gap for Indigenous children in reading, writing and numeracy within a decade (by 2018) – Not on Track.
- Halve the gap for Indigenous Australians aged 20-24 in Year 12 attainment or equivalent attainment rates (by 2020) – On Track.
- Halve the gap in employment outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a decade (by 2018) – Not on Track.
- Close the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a generation (by 2031) – Not on Track.
Improving the social determinants of health, such as education and employment will empower communities and improve injury outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. So progress across all targets is critical for improving the incidence and impact of injury among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Of particular interest to readers though may be the domain of health.
- Between the periods 2005-2007 and 2010-2012, there was a small reduction in the life expectancy gap of 0.8 years for males and 0.1 years for females.
- Over the longer term, Indigenous mortality rates have declined significantly by 14 per cent since 1998. However, there has been no improvement since the 2006 baseline and the target is not on track to be met.