In 2008, the Council of Australian Governments set targets in health, education and employment to measure improvements in the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people. The Closing the Gap agenda was developed in response to concerns raised with governments by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians, including the Close the Gap campaign and a series of National Indigenous Health Equity Summits. The targets are to:
- close the gap in life expectancy within a generation (by 2031);
- halve the gap in mortality rates for Indigenous children under five by 2018;
- achieve 95% early childhood education attendance for all Aboriginal four-year-olds
- halve the gap in reading, writing and numeracy achievements for children by 2018;
- halve the gap for Indigenous students in Year 12 (or equivalent) attainment rates by 2020; and
- halve the gap in employment outcomes between Indigenous and other Australians by 2018.
A progress report on these targets is released by the Australian Prime Minister on an annual basis.
In 2014 the Australian Government replaced more than 150 funded programs and activities with five program areas under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy. These areas are:
- Jobs, land and economy – focused on gaining employment, fostering businesses and supporting the generation of economic and social benefits via effective use of land assets
- Children and schooling – school attendance, improving education outcomes and supporting families
- Safety and wellbeing – ensuring Aboriginal people enjoy similar levels of physical, emotional and social wellbeing as other Australians
- Culture and capability – supporting Aboriginal people to maintain their culture, participate equally in economic and social life while building the capacity of Aboriginal service delivery organisations
- Remote Australia strategies – strategic investments in local, flexible solutions based on community and Government priorities. Support for remote housing strategies focused on achieving results in Government priority areas.
- acknowledges and honours the Aboriginal peoples as the State’s first people and nations
- recognises that Aboriginal peoples, as the traditional custodians and occupants of the land in NSW:
- have a spiritual, social, cultural and economic relationship with their traditional lands and/or waters, and
- have made, and continue to make a unique and lasting contribution to the identity of the State.