Today’s progress report on Closing the Gap delivered by Prime Minister Gillard is yet another underwhelming update of Labor promises devoid of measurable improvements in the lives of Aboriginal Australians.
“Expressing confidence that we will meet our goals in reducing infant mortality rates and improving early childhood education is meaningless without measurable data to track progress,” Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion said today.
“Just like the Government’s promise that it would end the blame game in health and take action on climate change, we hear lots of announcements about plans to improve the lives of Aboriginal Australians but see little evidence of outcomes.
“The Government knows that many Australians don’t get out to Aboriginal communities so it’s difficult for them to assess progress. The Closing the Gap report should clearly show improvements from year to year so that everyone can see how we are meeting our common desire to end disadvantage.
“The Prime Minister had the gall to tell Indigenous communities that their behaviour is the reason why so little progress has been made, instead of her Government’s complete lack of focus and frivolous spending.
“Aboriginal people do have to take charge of their future but inter-generational welfare dependence and poor school attendance will not change without the Government’s committed and sustained support.
“The Prime Minister must invest in properly targeted programs and then closely monitor and intervene where necessary to ensure progress is made. Instead buckets of cash are spent with no appreciable outcomes because it’s more important to appear to be doing something than actually getting results.
“It is simply not good enough to make the promises we have seen, for example in housing, and then simply drop the bar on expectations when targets aren’t met. It is not good enough for the Prime Minister to say that the same address on Closing the Gap will likely be delivered for decades to come.
“Aboriginal people and future generations deserve more vision, more passion and more commitment from their Government. Nothing is achieved by simply highlighting the challenges.”
Download media release:
More words little action on Closing the Gap 9 2 11.pdf