Greens call for NSW Close the Gap Targets

Aboriginal Land Rights rally in Hyde Park

“I’m calling on the Premier to establish clear NSW targets and report across all key areas of inequality so that his Government and future governments can be held accountable,” said Jan Barham, NSW Greens spokesperson for Aboriginal Affairs.

“Working with Aboriginal communities to ensure they have the services and opportunities required to address inequality in health and wellbeing is a responsibility of every Government, particularly in light of historical wrongdoings.

“Today’s release of the Prime Minister’s Closing the Gap report shows the lack of national progress on addressing the disparity in life expectancy and employment outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

Ms Barham noted that there are significant areas of inequality and disadvantage that aren’t addressed by the national targets.

The Close the Gap Steering Committee’s report on Progress and Priorities 2016 recommends targets to address imprisonment rates and community safety, as well as the exacerbated disadvantage experienced by Aboriginal people with disability, education and employment.

“New South Wales should establish targets to address the full range of causes and indicators of Aboriginal disadvantage and inequality, including incarceration rates, rates of child abuse, neglect and removal, disability, mental health and suicide.

Ms Barham noted that the NSW Government had introduced some welcome initiatives in Aboriginal Affairs but that greater engagement with Aboriginal communities and self-determination in addressing needs was required.

“I’ve worked with this Government to support a range of initiatives that aim to provide opportunity and self-determination to Aboriginal communities, including through the new OCHRE strategy and ensuring Aboriginal land rights are respected and delivered.

“All politicians and parties must support giving priority to working with Aboriginal communities to address the ongoing inequality and lack of opportunity they experience, and I call on the Premier to make it a priority to close all of the gaps in New South Wales,” Ms Barham concluded.

For further comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0447 853 891