Last week we marked National Close the Gap Day (16 March) - a day which calls on all Australians to take real, measurable steps to achieve equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by 2030. The Close the Gap campaign was launched in 2007 and 10 years on, and while some progress has been made its end goal seems increasingly out of reach, unless there is a different approach taken. The annual ‘Closing the Gap’ report, released in February, revealed that of the seven targets set a decade ago, only one is on track to be met.
At Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) we believe it is time for community and government to renew the push for meaningful action to address these appalling inequalities. It is also imperative that other issues affecting Indigenous Australians are taken on, including high rates of incarceration and the number of children in out-of-home care.
QCOSS is a strong supporter of the Family Matters campaign, which aims to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people grow up safe and cared for in family, community and culture. The 2040 target aims to see that the over-representation of children in out of home care is eliminated. This is a clear call to action for everyone.
At the heart of the Family Matters movement is a focus on strong communities, strong culture and stronger children. QCOSS is committed to supporting communities to take control of their futures. To working with communities to take advantage of the strengths in their community and create the community they need. Nowhere is this more needed than for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It is critical that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and organisations have control over the decisions that affect them.
There are just 13 years remaining until the Close the Gap campaign’s deadline. QCOSS will continue to advocate for meaningful action from all sectors and the community to work together for meaningful change for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities, no matter how long it takes.