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Closing the Gap Improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. I see closing the gap as a genuinely important national goal… that all Australians will have the same opportunities The Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon Julia Gillard MP, 9 February 2011.

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I see closing the gap as a genuinely important national goal… that all Australians will have the same opportunities

The Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon Julia Gillard MP, 9 February 2011

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The disadvantage experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is profound and long standing

Twice as many Indigenous children will die before the age of 5

8 times more Indigenous children are likely to be under care and protection orders

13 times more Indigenous people are likely to be in prison

An Indigenous man can expect to live to 63, an Indigenous woman to 73 whereas a non-Indigenous man lives to 88 and a non-Indigenous woman to 89

30%–50% of the life expectancy gap is due to factors other than health, especially education and employment

A person’s wellbeing and quality of life are directly related to DEEWR’s work

Disadvantage accumulates. The longer or more frequently a person experiences ill-health or poor social and economic circumstances, the lower their quality of life overall and life expectancy

the indigenous population is relatively young and geographically dispersed
The Indigenous population is relatively young and geographically dispersed

The median age for Indigenous Australians is 21 years compared to 37 years for non-Indigenous Australians

4 in 10 Indigenous Australians are aged less than 15 years compared with 2 in 10 non-Indigenous Australians

5 in 10 dependent children living in Indigenous families, live in one parent families compared with

2 in 10 dependent children living in non-Indigenous families

6 in 10 Indigenous Australian adults identify with a clan, tribal or language group

1 in 9 Indigenous Australian adults speak an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language as their main language at home

Three-quarters of Indigenous Australians live in major cities or regional areas of Australia, compared to almost all of non-Indigenous Australians

32% of Indigenous Australians live in major cities (vs 69% of non-Indigenous), 43% live in regional areas (vs 29% of non-Indigenous), and 25% live in remote areas (vs 2% of non-Indigenous)

The Indigenous population is likely to become more urbanised. The greatest increase in the Indigenous population to 2021 is expected in major cities (up 50%) and regional areas (up 46%), with limited growth in remote Australia (up 14%).

deewr is making a positive difference to the lives of aboriginal and torres strait islander people
DEEWR is making a positive difference to the livesof Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • In 2008, the Australian Government made a historic commitment to close the gap in life expectancy and life opportunities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians
  • Six targets to close the gap in Indigenous disadvantage were agreed by the Council of Australian Governments and these form the pillars of the Government’s national Indigenous reform agenda
  • DEEWR has lead responsibility for four targets related to early childhood, education and employment:
  • Ensure all Indigenous four year olds in remote communities have access to quality early childhood education by 2013
  • Halve the gap for Indigenous students in reading, writing and numeracy by 2018
  • Halve the gap for Indigenous 20–24 year olds in Year 12 or equivalent attainment rates by 2020
  • Halve the gap in employment outcomes between Indigenous and non‑Indigenous Australians by 2018
  • Indigenous business is everyone’s business. This means that all our programs, services and policies need to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • We need to work together to ensure that mainstream and targeted initiatives across all clusters reinforce each other and produce positive outcomes for all Indigenous Australians
experiences during early childhood affect outcomes in education employment and health later in life
Experiences during early childhood affect outcomes in education, employment and health later in life

Ensure all Indigenous four year olds in remote communities have access to quality early childhood education by 2013

Why is this target important?

  • Early childhood is a critical stage in human development—children’sexperiences can harm or benefit their later health, learning and behaviour
  • Indigenous children are almost 4 times more likely to be developmentally vulnerable in literacy and numeracy in their first year of full-time schooling
  • Ensuring all children have access to high quality early childhood education gives them the best start in life, and sets them on the path to success in school, further education and work
  • What is the gap and how are we going?
  • Available data suggest that 87 per cent of Indigenous children in remote locations are enrolled in preschool, compared to 70 per cent nationally
  • We have made significant progress in ensuring access to early childhood education, and are likely to meet this target in 2013
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Indigenous Australian children will have quality early childhood education for the best start in life
  • What are we doing?
  • Building a quality workforce and developing quality standards for early childhood education and care including through the implementation of the Early Years Learning Framework
  • Ensuring all children have access to early childhood education in the year before formal schooling under the National Partnership Agreement on Early Childhood Education
  • Funding 38 Children and Family Centres to bring together important services including child care, early learning, and parent and family support programs as part of the National Partnership Agreement on Indigenous Early Childhood Development
gaps in literacy and numeracy skills increase with age and location
Gaps in literacy and numeracy skills increasewith age and location

Halve the gap for Indigenous students in reading, writing and numeracy by 2018

  • Why is this target important?
  • Achieving literacy and numeracy benchmarks in Years 5 and 7 promotes greater participation in Year 12 and entry into higher education
  • Indigenous students are 5 times more likely to achieve below the national minimum standards in Year 9 reading in very remote areas compared with non-Indigenous students
  • School leavers who have sound skills in literacy and numeracy have much better employment prospects
  • What is the gap and how are we going?
  • The size of the gap differs across domains and across year levels, ranging from a low of 17.6 percentage points (Year 3 Writing) to the largest gap 29.7 percentage points (Year 9 writing) in 2010
  • Small improvements were made between 2008-2010 and seven of the twelve national literacy and numeracy targets were met in 2010
indigenous students with good literacy and numeracy skills are more likely to finish year 12
Indigenous students with good literacy and numeracy skills are more likely to finish Year 12
  • What are we doing?
  • Improving literacy and numeracy standards, producing high-quality teachers, and supporting disadvantaged students under the Smarter Schools National Partnerships
  • Investing in school infrastructure, Trade Training Centres and the Digital Education Revolution to improve the quality of every student’s education
  • Providing transparency in school performance data through MySchool, and the development of world-class national curriculum
  • $56.4 million over four years from 2008–09 to expand intensive literacy and numeracy programs and provide for personalised learning plans to assist Indigenous students who are not achieving at the level of the rest of their class
a year 12 or equivalent qualification is vital for today s labour market
A Year 12 or equivalent qualification is vital for today’slabour market

Halve the gap for Indigenous 20-24 year olds in Year 12 or equivalent attainment rates by 2020

  • Why is this target important?
    • Finishing Year 12 gives young people better choices and access to further education, training, employment and opportunities in life
    • People who have attained Year 12 are more likely to be employed and have a higher income
    • Finishing school can reduce the need for remedial education and social welfare services
    • Staying at school reduces the likelihood of young people being involved in crime
  • What is the gap and how are we going?
    • There was a good trend of increasing rates of attainment from 2001 to 2006
    • 17,000 more 20-24 year old Indigenous Australians must have a Year 12 or equivalent qualification by 2020 over and above the current rates
    • In 2008, if you were a working age Indigenous Australian with Year 12 or equivalent qualification, you were almost twice as likely to be employed than those without these qualifications
young people at risk of not finishing school need tailored support
Young people at risk of not finishing schoolneed tailored support
  • What are we doing?
    • Linking young people with Youth Connections and School Business CommunityPartnership Brokers to support them to go back to school or get a job
    • Promoting personalised learning for Indigenous students through to Year 10 under the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Action Plan
    • $4.1 million over three years in the 2011–12 Budget to provide the opportunity for Indigenous students to develop the skills and knowledge to become a ranger through the Indigenous Ranger Cadetships program
    • Strengthening education outcomes through initiatives such as Parent and Community Engagement, Sporting Chance and Indigenous Youth Leadership programs
employment is the key to economic independence for aboriginal and torres strait islander people
Employment is the key to economic independence for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Halve the gap in employment outcomes between Indigenous and non‑Indigenous Australians by 2018

  • Why is this target important?
    • Having a job provides families with a better standard of living and better health in the long run, especially for children
    • Secure employment is vital to breaking the cycle of poverty and welfare dependency
    • Economic participation improves the choices open to people and improves the national economy
  • What is the gap and how are we going?
    • There have been small improvements from 2002-2008 with employment rising by 5.6 percentage points, labour force participation rising by 1.9 percentage points, and unemployment falling by 6.4 percentage points
    • 100,000 additional Indigenous Australians must have a job by 2018
    • This target is not just about unemployment—participation in the labour force must increase
    • In 2004-05 almost 50% of 15-64 year old Indigenous Australians relied primarily on income support, for non-Indigenous Australians this figure was less than 20%
deewr is supporting indigenous australians to secure employment
DEEWR is supporting Indigenous Australians to secure employment
  • What are we doing?
    • Job Services Australia is the most significant employment program and is improvingservices to Indigenous Australians
    • Employers are supported to create and sustain jobs through the Indigenous Employment Program
    • $50.7 million in the 2011–12 Budget to provide up to 6,400 Indigenous students over four years the opportunity to get a school based traineeship through the Indigenous Youth Career Pathways Program
    • Indigenous staff comprise almost 6% of the DEEWR total
our work affects a person s life in many ways
Our work affects a person’s life in many ways

The work we do is interconnected

in summary
In Summary...
  • It has been 3 years since the Closing the Gap targets were set and we have made some inroads
  • We have delivered a major reform agenda across all targets
  • Our mainstream and Indigenous-specific programs and initiatives are currently making a difference for Indigenous Australians. However, there is more to be done
  • We think we are close to on track to achieve the early childhood target
  • There are some positive signs with the literacy and numeracy and Year 12 attainment targets
  • The employment outcomes target is our biggest challenge
  • The greatest challenge will be achieving the last few per cent of the targets