As expected, the Prime Minister’s Closing the Gap report findings were bleak, Centre for Independent Studies Indigenous Research Manager Sara Hudson said.
“Only one of seven Closing the Gap targets on track was reported to be met: high school attendance,” Ms Hudson said.
“However, it is good to see the Prime Minister is attempting to counteract these poor results by linking Indigenous program funding to outcomes and by moving from a one-size-fits-all mindset for program design
“The appointment of a new Indigenous Commissioner at the Productivity Commission to assess Indigenous policy and $50 million for policy research is the best thing in the Closing the Gap speech.
“The government’s focus on evaluating Indigenous programs follows the recent CIS report, Mapping the Indigenous Program and Funding Maze which found only 8% (88) of 1,082 programs had been evaluated.
“One of the reasons for the low return on Indigenous investment is that funding has not gone to where it is needed most or been used in ways that respected Indigenous input into program design and delivery.
“The Prime Minister’s focus on partnerships with Indigenous people is welcome, however he has said this before.
“In his 2016 Closing the Gap speech, the Prime Minister claimed he would work with Indigenous leaders and communities, but over the past year he has largely ignored Indigenous policy issues, cancelling meetings with his Indigenous Advisory Council on numerous occasions.
“Let’s hope this year government does begin to do things differently when it comes to Indigenous policy,” Ms Hudson said.
Sara Hudson is a Research Fellow and Manager of the Indigenous Research Program at the Centre for Independent Studies and author of the report Mapping the Indigenous Program and Funding Maze.
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