March 24, 2018

Australia | Former PM blames funding for indigenous setbacks

15 February 2018, 05:09 | Joan Schultz

Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd

Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd

"The key thing is, based on what I see in the press reporting today is that, of the seven targets we set, we are on track to realise three of the seven", he said.

Australia was on track to meet only three of those targets - halving the gap in child mortality by 2018, halving the difference in students completing high school by 2020 and enrolling 95 percent of indigenous 4-year-olds in education programs by 2015.

A yearly report has shown Australia to have achieved some advancement in developing indigenous people's lifestyle, even though it failed to improve four of seven major areas.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion says while some targets are not on track to be met, there has been solid progress in other areas compared with a decade ago.

"If there is progress, as microscopic as it might be, that's refreshing", he told ABC radio.

Tuesday is the 10th anniversary of one of the most cathartic and emotional events in our nation's history, the official apology by then newly elected prime minister Kevin Rudd to the Stolen Generations of Indigenous Australians.

Mr Wyatt has defended the targets, and knocked back suggestions they were too ambitious.

Indigenous Australians experience shocking outcomes, to the point where they are the most disadvantaged and vulnerable group in the land.

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"The last decade has given us a richer understanding about what works and what does not", Turnbull told parliament, adding the most valuable lesson had come from working more closely with indigenous people.

"What I like about the refresh is it gives us a chance to look at the targets, are they the rights targets or do we define them, like child mortality, in a slightly different way", he said.

Mr Wyatt said some factors that contribute to child mortality, including homicide and road accidents, will always be out of the control of Governments and this target should be re-worked.

In a statement the delegates urged the Government not to abandon the existing Closing the Gap targets, but suggested several new targets could be included.

Malcolm Turnbull insists jobs and setting up businesses are crucial to improving the lives of indigenous Australians as he prepares to hand down the annual Closing the Gap report.

Meantime, the Federal Opposition Leader has pledged to legislate for an Indigenous voice to Parliament, if Labor wins the next election.

He said a Labor Government would hold a national summit on the welfare of Indigenous children within its first 100 days in office.

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