Seven years ago an apology was delivered by the Australian Government acknowledging past laws, policies and practices that have inflicted profound grief, loss and suffering on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, said although there is still much work to be done, there are positive signs that progress is being made.
“There are many people and institutions working to heal the wounds caused by past injustices and to address the inequity in life outcomes for Indigenous Australians,” Minister Scullion said.
“The Apology stated it will take both ‘mutual respect’, and ‘mutual responsibility’ to close the gap.
“This past year has been about resetting the foundations in Indigenous Affairs to support mutual respect and responsibility, and ensure government support hits the ground where it’s most needed.
“Building off the Apology, this Government is committed to fixing the Australian Constitution, so that it acknowledges Indigenous Australians as the first peoples of this great nation.
“The fact that Indigenous Australians are not currently recognised in the Constitution is an obstacle to creating the mutual respect required to heal.
“The Australian Government is also heavily focussed on the fundamentals of school attendance, which is the foundation to a good education.
“A good education creates employment opportunities, leading to economic independence and prosperity, and this is fundamental to ensuring communities are safe.
“Progress on these three priority areas will ultimately contribute to positive gains across the Closing The Gap targets.
“This week’s release of the Closing the Gap report shows there’s more work to be done in the areas of life expectancy, child mortality, employment, and literacy and numeracy.
“There is a long road ahead to reconcile the wrongs of the past, but by building mutual respect and working together to get kids to school for a quality education, we are starting on the right track.”
Download media release:
2015-02-12 MR Anniversary of National Apology.pdf