Australia failing to improve lives of Aborigines


"The targets we set 10 years ago for Closing the Gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians in health, education, employment, housing and longevity should be enhanced, not weakened", he told the National Press Club on Monday.

The government's Closing The Gap report tracks targets aimed at reducing inequality between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.

It comes a decade after then prime minister Kevin Rudd apologised to indigenous Australians, once administered under flora and fauna laws, for the atrocities committed against them.

It's exactly 10 years since indigenous men and women stolen from their families finally got the official apology they wanted in parliament.

Two more targets - halving the gap in child mortality by 2018 and having 95 per cent of all indigenous four-year-olds enrolled in early childhood education by 2025 - are both now on track.

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Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion says despite the lags, there has been "solid progress" in other areas.

Three of the outstanding four targets - to halve the gaps in employment, reading and numeracy, and in school attendance for indigenous students - are due to expire this year.

"I know that there are people in the NT who have been enormously frustrated by the lack of action in this regard, and I am certain that there will be those that argue about the quantum, and all of those things; we welcome that discussion", Snowdon said.

"The last decade has given us a richer understanding about what works and what does not".

"A major reason, although by no means the only one, we're languishing in meeting a number of targets is the uncertainty in government's financial effort over recent years", Rudd said. "But in all of them, what you see is either some improvement, significant improvement, or a lot of improvement if not full realisation of the target".

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On Tuesday Mr Rudd will speak at a breakfast in Parliament House to mark 10 years since the day he delivered the landmark apology and to address the Closing the Gap targets he launched in 2008.

"It was not just an expression of sorrow or regret but a declaration of intent, a promise for action", he will say in parliament.

However, he stressed the need to include more indigenous people in service delivery and improve housing supports.

The scheme would provide survivors in the Northern Territory and the ACT with access to up to $75,000, if Labor is elected.

He also welcomed suggestions the Turnbull government may be open to the idea of including targets on incarceration rates and child protection.

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