STATEMENT ON CLOSING THE GAP

LINDA BURNEY MP.
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9 months ago
STATEMENT ON CLOSING THE GAP
LINDA BURNEY MP
It is 17 months since the Prime Minister said he would work with First Nations peak organisations on new Closing the Gap targets to reduce the disparities between First Nations and non-Indigenous Australians.

A closer partnership between government and First Nations organisations as well as a greater role in service delivery will be critical to seeing real and lasting progress.

Equally as important however, is that we see leadership, action and funding from the Prime Minister and the Government.

This means funding and reform to ensure that remote housing is adequate.

It means guaranteeing access to clean water and secure food supplies – basic items that many Australians would be shocked to learn is simply unavailable in many parts of our country. 

It must also mean economic development and jobs – employment programs that actually work, unlike the Community Development Program, which is discriminatory and punishes people for who they are and where they live.

We also welcome the new and emboldened role and responsibility of state, territory and local government in this national effort. 

Ultimately, Closing the Gap is about ending the disparity in service delivery, and ensuring First Nations Australians have equal access to quality services. 

The greater role of First Nations organisations in service delivery must not result in mainstream organisations - education, healthcare and other service providers - vacating the Indigenous space. Rather, it should energise them to work more closely with First Nations organisations.  

We cannot underestimate the enormous task ahead. 

The Government has a real opportunity to deliver substantive investment in education and employment, health, housing and infrastructure that will change the lives of First Nations people, no matter where they live.

Bipartisanship cannot be a race to the bottom. 
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