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Tuesday, 13 Feb 2024

Commonwealth Closing the Gap 2023 Annual Report and 2024 Implementation Plan

Closing the Gap - Commonwealth Annual Report and Implementation Plan

The National Agreement is a commitment from all Parties to set out a future where policy making that impacts on the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is done in full and genuine partnership, with acknowledgement that strong Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures are fundamental to improved life outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The 2023 Annual Report provides an honest analysis of the Commonwealth’s progress toward achieving the Priority Reforms and socio-economic outcomes of the National Agreement. It informs action required in 2024 to improve life outcomes for Indigenous Australians. The 2024 Implementation Plan is forward looking , outlining strategic priorities of the Commonwealth for Closing the Gap over the next year. It builds on progress made in 2023, with a focus on areas of need.

While progress is on track to reduce the number of young people in detention, increase pre-school enrolments and bolster Australian and Torres Strait Islander employment, the rates of suicide have increased as well as the number of First Nations adults in detention and children in out-of-home care.

In 2024 the Commonwealth has committed to support practical actions that will make a different to First Nations people. This includes the announcement today of a $707 million investment for implementation of a new Remote Jobs and Economic Development Program (RJED) in the second half of 2024. The program will create 3000 jobs in remote Australia over three years that supports people in remote communities to move into employment by funding meaningful jobs that communities want.

The Commonwealth also announced today establishment of a National Commissioner for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Young People.

The Commonwealth is also investing in:

  • $30.2 million for Remote Training Hubs in up to seven remote locations in Central Australia.
  • $10.7 million to continue funding for the Justice Policy Partnership, working to reduce incarceration rates. 
  • Community Wi-Fi services for around 20 remote communities so people can access government services, education and stay connected. 
  • $24 million to expand the Junior Rangers program to 50 sites to boost engagement and attendance rates of First Nations students. 

The Government has made significant progress against tangible commitments made in the 2023 Implementation Plan. We committed to 96 actions and we are on track with 87 of them including:

  • 183 Health Workers have now enrolled in the Health Worker Traineeship Program, with more expected in 2024.
  • Improved access to safe and reliable drinking water in the remote Northern Territory communities of Yuendumu and Milingimbi.
  • Delivering the Commonwealth’s $100 million investment for urgent repairs and maintenance to housing and essential infrastructure on Northern Territory Homelands – including Utopia, Paru and Rockhole.
  • 157 houses are on track to be delivered by June 2024 to ease severe overcrowding in remote Northern Territory communities.
  • Landmark justice reinvestment package supporting communities to deliver local solutions to improve community safety and reduce incarceration rates.
  • Over 14,000 First Nations students have enrolled in Fee-Free TAFE courses.
  • First Nations people in remote communities are receiving better renal services, with six new sites established in 2023.
  • On-Country employment for up to 1,000 people with the Indigenous Rangers Program, with to the aim to double the number of Rangers by 2030.
  • Continuing to support the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation to employ 260 new workers in community controlled health organisations to deliver cancer treatments and other supports.

Over the next year, Government will strengthen our relationship with the Coalition of the Peaks and work in partnership to design and implement programs that make a difference at the local level. 

The Commonwealth Closing the Gap 2023 Annual Report and 2024 Implementation Plan can be found on the National Indigenous Australians Agency website.

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