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Close the Gap - Part 1 Background

Close the Gap - Part 1

The December 2007 COAG Communiqué (extracts)

Indigenous Australia

COAG agreed the 17 year gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians must be closed.

COAG today agreed to a partnership between all levels of government to work with Indigenous communities to achieve the target of closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage. COAG committed to:

  • closing the life expectancy gap within a generation;
  • halving the mortality gap for children under five within a decade; and
  • halving the gap in reading, writing and numeracy within a decade.

COAG recognised the pathway to closing the gap is inextricably linked to economic development and improved education outcomes.

COAG also specifically addressed the importance of tackling the debilitating effect of substance and alcohol abuse on Indigenous Australians.

The Commonwealth agreed to double the $49.3 million in funding previously provided by COAG in 2006 for substance and alcohol rehabilitation and treatment services, particularly in remote areas.

The States and Territories, in turn, committed to complementary investments in services to support this initiative. These will include, but are not limited to, strengthened policing of alcohol management plans and licensing laws and additional treatment and family support services.

COAG has also agreed that States and Territories will report transparently on the use of their
Commonwealth Grants Commission funding which is on the basis of Indigenous need funding for services to Indigenous people.