Saturday, 18 August, 2018

Rudd marks 10 years since Stolen apology

Closing the gap Goals to close the gap on school attendance unemployment rates and school literacy have never been met
Ellis Copeland | 15 February, 2018, 16:21

The tenth annual Closing the Gap report said Australia was failing to meet its targets in four-out-of-seven measures, including reading and writing among indigenous students, a key driver behind its failure to boost employment.

"Three of the seven targets are on track this year, giving us the most promising result since 2011", Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told the parliament.

The only target found to be on track last year - to halve the gap in Year 12 attainment by 2020 - also remains on track.

Two more targets - halving the gap in child mortality by 2018 and having 95 per cent of all indigenous four-year-olds enrolled in early childhood education by 2025 - are both now on track.

"If you don't set ambitious targets, you never strive to achieve them, the problem with Aboriginal affairs is we've always gone for the lowest common denominator", he said.

"If we can not work on this together, the next Labor Government will instead - as a first step - look to legislate the voice to Parliament", Mr Shorten has told Parliament.

Australia is making some progress in improving health and education among its indigenous population, an annual report said today, but it is still missing most targets to reduce Aboriginal disadvantage a decade after launching a major campaign.

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"The continuing weight and meaning of the apology comes from what we do now, from our actions, from the change we drive, the gaps we close and the unfinished business we resolve".

Closing the Gap was implemented in 2008, shortly after the then-prime minister formally apologized the "Stolen Generation" of indigenous people who had been taken away from their family.

He said a Labor Government would hold a national summit on the welfare of Indigenous children within its first 100 days in office. "I say to the Prime Minister and the Government - we will work with you, but we will not wait for you".

"It was not just an expression of sorrow or regret but a declaration of intent, a promise for action", he will say in parliament.

"The most valuable lesson has come from applying advice to do with, not to (indigenous people)".

Under the new plan, about 150 survivors of the Stolen Generation will receive an ex gratia payment of $75,000 as well as a one-off payment of $7000 to ensure the costs of a funeral are covered.

Mr Shorten says in the past 10-years, state Labor and Liberal governments - apart from Victoria - have established different forms of compensation for members of the Stolen Generations.

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