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Media statement from Minister David Harris - Productivity Commission releases report on Closing the Gap

The NSW Government welcomes the Productivity Commission’s Review on federal and state government progress towards improved life outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities across the country.

The report notes that, in order to see change, business-as-usual must be a thing of the past.

The NSW Government couldn’t agree more, which is why we, together with the NSW Coalition of Aboriginal Peak Organisations – or NSW CAPO – are partnering with Aboriginal communities to design new policies and programs that will make a difference.

But this is a long game. The gap that we seek to close has been created over many decades, and the solutions will take time.

We are deeply committed to that long game and take heart in the fact that the Commission highlights the progress NSW has made in some key areas, such as NSW’s unique commitment to transformational reform to empower Aboriginal data sovereignty under Closing the Gap Priority Reform 4.

The report also notes that NSW is one of the few jurisdictions nationwide to have amended our Cabinet and Budget processes to reflect the requirements of the National Agreement.

Over the next 12 months we will continue to deliver the NSW Closing the Gap Implementation Plan 2022-2024, which includes 142 initiatives supported by $221 million over 4 years from the NSW Government. This includes $24 million to support NSW CAPO and its important work. 

Our next Closing the Gap Implementation Plan 2024-25 and subsequent plans, which will be developed in partnership with NSW CAPO, will provide an opportunity for us to consider the recommendations of the Productivity Review and how they can be applied in NSW.

The report states that the Closing the Gap Agreement requires government decision-makers to accept that they do not know what is best for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

We understand that Aboriginal people and communities in NSW are best placed to make decisions for themselves.

This is a key feature of our work under Priority Reform 1, which speaks to formal partnerships and shared decision-making.

Our commitment to Closing the Gap and Priority Reform 1 includes our plans to undertake a 12-month consultation process with Aboriginal communities to determine how to best move forward on Treaty and what it might look like. This process will commence this year.

It also includes regular meetings with NSW CAPO to discuss how we are jointly progressing against the Closing the Gap priority reforms. The next meeting will take place next week.

We will also shortly announce a new NSW Partnership Agreement with NSW CAPO and Local Government NSW. This new agreement demonstrates our commitment to working in true partnership to share responsibility with Aboriginal organisations to Close the Gap.

We are committed to implementing meaningful, holistic and transformative change to best serve Aboriginal people and communities in this state.

In the coming months, the National Joint Council will consider these recommendations and the related actions and provide a response.



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