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Closing the Gap - Message from the Head of Aboriginal Affairs
Today in Parliament, the Prime Minister, Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt and Lead Convenor of the Coalition of Peaks Pat Turner announced the signing of the new National Agreement on Closing the Gap. A copy of the Agreement is on our website for your further information here.
NSW is part of this historic National Agreement on Closing the Gap, with the Premier signing on behalf of the NSW Government. You can see Minister Harwin’s statement here.
AANSW has worked closely with the NSW Coalition of Aboriginal Peak Organisations (CAPO) to provide opportunities for Aboriginal community voices to be heard in the planning of the National Agreement. Through September to November 2019, with support from AANSW, CAPO led 29 consultations across NSW so that Aboriginal communities and organisations could contribute to the next phase of Closing the Gap and ‘open the gate’ to shared decision-making over the next ten years.
This has been an amazing opportunity for myself, and AANSW, to strengthen our relationship with the organisations that make up CAPO and work alongside other leaders, including NCARA, towards a shared vision on Closing the Gap.
The National Agreement on Closing the Gap promises to be a new and dynamic way of working with Aboriginal people. The agreement places critical importance on an inclusive approach to implementation where Government and community leaders come together to work for the benefit of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It also tackles systemic and structural reform in terms of how government delivers services including committing to outcomes related to shared decision-making, employing and growing the community controlled sector, and sharing data and information with communities – rather than just focussing on numerical targets.
I am especially heartened to see the Agreement’s emphasis on Aboriginal youth and children, including targets aimed at increasing educational attainment for our youth and increased access to early childhood education for Aboriginal kids.
Minister Harwin and AANSW will continue to lead the NSW Government contribution to the Closing the Gap reforms, including the development over the next 12 months of an implementation plan, working together with key service delivery clusters within government and NSW CAPO and other Aboriginal leadership bodies including Aboriginal Regional Alliances.
This work will be a key priority for AANSW and will require us to drive change, innovation and increased accountability across the NSW government.
This has been a huge amount of work for our team and I’d personally like to thank Rachel Ardler and Anthony Seiver for their dedication and efforts in getting us here. I’d also like to extend my wider thanks to our Aboriginal communities for their resilience and courage in bringing strong voices and experience to this process.
Head of Aboriginal Affairs