National Close the Gap Day

Transforming Power: National Close the Gap Day 17th March 2022

Deb Mann, REAIE Committee Member, Wakka Wakka woman

So many days of significance are remembered, acknowledged, and/or celebrated annually. How do you decide which is important to research and critically reflect on?

The REAIE committee has identified this day to stimulate thinking and reflection on the inequitable life outcomes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples continue to experience. 

Annually the National Close the Gap Day is observed on the 3rd Thursday of March each year. It is not a public holiday, as currently, there are no public holidays in Australia that recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories.

The 2005 Social Justice Report identified the third world health outcomes and shorter life expectancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Since then, community organisations have continued to highlight the gaps in education, employment, housing and social standards. The movement gained momentum, and in 2009 Kevin Rudd committed to an annual report to Parliament on the progress on closing the gap initiatives. 

In March 2019, the Commonwealth, State and Territory agreed to share the decision making with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak organisations and established a National Agreement on Closing the Gap. In theory, this signified an acceptance that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in their communities were best placed to identify initiatives that would work. The intention was to work together to achieve equitable outcomes.

In 2022 we invite you to think about:

  • the evolution of the key target areas,
  • the time and money invested in programs,
  • the progress of Closing the Gap,
  • the present circumstances of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in these areas,
  • how many initiatives had of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples input,
  • who evaluated and determined the outcomes?
  • what are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities asking for now?
  • how can you start to identify gaps in your service?
  • what could you do to eliminate the inequities?

To further assist with your critical reflections, we have included some links below:

  1. https://antar.org.au/campaigns/national-close-gap-day
  2. https://www.closingthegap.gov.au/partnership
  3. https://www.closingthegap.gov.au/national-agreement
  4. https://www.closingthegap.gov.au/national-agreement/targets
  5. http://coalitionofpeaks.org.au/
  6. https://www.lindaburney.com.au/speeches/2020/2/12/closing-the-gap-the-impact-of-past-wrongs-can-still-be-felt-today
  7. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-07-30/closing-gap-targets-agreement-aboriginal-torres-strait-islander/12506232
  8. https://publications.ieu.asn.au/2020-june-ie/articles/closing-gap/
  9. http://coalitionofpeaks.org.au/
  10. https://coalitionofpeaks.org.au/?fbclid=IwAR1b9rMPgAOzkiSo-uLNrwP6DOkfrEabNj7q4V2WEdCp2TQJ_Vst17H0mKU
  11. https://epress.lib.uts.edu.au/journals/index.php/cjlg/article/view/8025/7909
  12. https://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/article/2020/07/16/truth-telling-must-come-well-negotiations-says-nt-treaty-commissioner

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