Informed, engaged communities for health

Filter by Categories
Aged care
Budgets
Federal Budget 2024-25
Federal Budget 2023-2024
Federal Budget October 2022
Federal Budget 2022-23
Federal Budget 2021-22
Climate and health
Climate emergency
Healthcare sustainability
Heatwaves
National Health and Climate Strategy
#HealthyCOP28
#HealthyCOP27
#HealthyCOP26
#CoveringClimateNow
COVID collection
COVID-19
Long COVID
COVIDwrap
COVID SNAPS
#JusticeCOVID
Caring for the Frontline
COVIDglobalMHseries
Croakey Conference News Service
#WICC2024
Croakey Professional Services
NHLF series
#KidneyCareTogether
ACSQHC series
ACSQHC series 2022
ACSQHC series 2021
ACSQHC series 2020
ACSQHC series 2019
CATSINaM 25 Years
Croakey projects
@WePublicHealth 2024
Summer reading 2023-2024
The Zap
#CroakeyLIVE #DigitalNationBuilding
#CroakeyLIVE #VoiceForHealth
#PHAAThinkTank2023
The Health Wrap
ICYMI
@WePublicHealth
@WePublicHealth2023
#CroakeyVOICES
#SpeakingOurMinds
Croakey longreads
#CroakeyREAD
CroakeyEXPLORE
CroakeyGO
#CroakeyGO #NavigatingHealth
#GamblingHarms
#HeatwaveHealth
Mapping CroakeyGo
Determinants of health
Environmental determinants of health
Social determinants of health
Education
Discrimination
Housing
Internet access
Justice and policing
Justice Reinvestment
Newstart/JobSeeker
Poverty
Racism
Social policy
Commercial determinants of health
Alcohol
Arms industry
Digital platforms
Food and beverages
Fossil fuels
Gambling
Pharmaceutical industry
Plain packaging
Sugar tax
Tobacco
Vaping
Disasters and extreme weather events
Disasters
Extreme weather events
Bushfires
Bushfire-emergency 2019-2020
Floods 2023
Floods 2022
Floods 2021
Floods 2011
Donor-funded journalism
Donor-funded journalism – 2024
Donor-funded journalism – 2023
Donor-funded journalism – 2022
Donor-funded journalism – 2021
Donor-funded journalism – 2020
Elections
lutruwita/Tasmania 2024 election
#NSWvotesHealth2023
Victorian election 2022
Federal Election 2022
The Election Wrap 2022
#QldVotesHealth
SA election 2022
WA election 2021
Tasmanian election 2021
First Nations
Indigenous health
Community controlled sector
Cultural determinants of health
Cultural safety
Indigenous education
Social and emotional wellbeing
Uluru Statement
The Voice
Lowitja Institute
NT Intervention
WA community closures
Acknowledgement
#CTG10
#NTRC
#RCIADIC30Years
General health matters
Abortion
Cancer
Cardiovascular disease
Child health
Chronic conditions
Consumer health matters
Death and dying
Diabetes
Disabilities
Euthanasia
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)
Genetics
HIV/AIDS
HRT
Infectious diseases
Influenza
LGBTQIA+
Medical marijuana
Men's health
Mental health
Mpox
Non communicable diseases
Oral health
Organ transplants
Pain
Pregnancy and childbirth
Sexual health
Suicide
Swine flu
Trauma
Women's health
Youth health
Global health matters
Asylum seeker and refugee health
Conflict and war
Global health
WHO
Ebola
NHS
#WorldInTurmoil
Health policy and systems
Co-design
Health financing and costs
Health reform
Health regulation
Medicare 40 Years
MyMedicare
National Health Performance Authority
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
Private health insurance
Royal Commissions
TGA
Workforce matters
Strengthening Medicare Taskforce 2022
National Commission of Audit 2014
Healthcare
Adverse events
Allied healthcare
Australian Medical Association
Choosing Wisely
cohealth
Complementary medicines
Conflicts of interest
Co-payments
Digital technology
E-health
Emergency departments and care
Equally Well
General practice
Health Care Homes
Health ethics
Hospitals
International medical graduates
Medicare Locals
MyHospitals website
Naturopathy
NDIS
Nursing and midwifery
Out of pocket costs
Palliative care
Paramedics
Pathology
Pharmacy
Primary healthcare
Primary Health Networks
Rural and remote health
Safety and quality of healthcare and aged care
Screening
Social prescribing
Surgery
Telehealth
Tests
Media and health
Media-related issues
Health & medical marketing
Misinformation and disinformation
Public interest journalism
Social media and healthcare
The Conversation
Media Doctor Australia
News about Croakey
Public health and population health
Air pollution
Artificial intelligence
Australian Centre for Disease Control
Government 2.0
Gun control
Health communications
Health impact assessment
Health in All Policies
Health inequalities
Health literacy
Human rights
Illicit drugs
Injuries
Legal issues
Marriage equality
Nanny state
National Preventive Health Agency
Obesity
Occupational health
Physical activity
Prevention
Public health
Road safety
Sport
Transport
Vaccination
VicHealth
Violence
Web 2.0
Weight loss products
#PreventiveHealthStrategy
#UnmetNeedsinPublicHealth
Research matters
Cochrane Collaboration
Evidence-based issues
Health and medical education
Health and medical research
NHMRC
#MRFFtransparency
The Croakey Archives
#cripcroakey
#HealthEquity16
#HealthMatters
#IHMayDay (all years)
#IHMayDay 2014
#IHMayDay15
#IHMayday16
#IHMayDay17
#IHMayDay18
#LoveRural 2014
Croakey Conference News Service 2013 – 2023
2023 Conferences
#GreenHealthForum23
#hpsymposium2023
#NMS23
#HEAL2023
#ASMIRT2023
#NSPC23
Our Democracy Forum
#AskMSF
#Lowitja2023
2022 Conferences
#16nrhc
#GreenHealthForum22
#Heal2022
#ICEM22
#NAISA22
#NNF2022
#RANZCP2022
#RethinkAddiction
#RTP22
GiantSteps22
Equally Well 2022 Symposium
Choosing Wisely National Meeting 2022
2021 conferences
#21OPCC
#BackToTheFire
#FoodGovernance2021
#GiantSteps21
#GreenHealthForum21
#HealthClimateSolutions21
#HearMe21
#IndigenousClimateJustice21
#NNF2021
#RANZCP2021
#ShiftingGearsSummit
#ValueBasedCare
#WCepi2021
#YHFSummit
2020 conferences
#2020ResearchExcellence
#Govern4Health
#HealthReImagined
#SAHeapsUnfair
2019 Conferences
#ACEM19
#CPHCE19
#EquallyWellAust
#GiantSteps19
#HealthAdvocacyWIM
#KTthatWorks
#LowitjaConf2019
#MHAgeing
#NNF2019
#OKtoAsk2019
#RANZCOG19
#RANZCP2019
#ruralhealthconf
#VMIAC2019
#WHOcollabAHPRA
2018 conferences
#6rrhss
#ACEM18
#AHPA2018
#ATSISPC18
#CPHCE
#MHED18
#NDISMentalHealth
#Nurseforce
#OKToAsk2018
#RANZCOG18
#ResearchIntoPolicy
#VHAawards
#VMIACAwards18
#WISPC18
2017 conferences
#17APCC
#ACEM17
#AIDAconf2017
#BTH20
#CATSINaM17
#ClimateHealthStrategy
#IAHAConf17
#IDS17
#LBQWHC17
#LivingOurWay
#OKtoAskAu
#OTCC2017
#ResearchTranslation17
#TheMHS2017
#VMIACConf17
#WCPH2017
Australian Palliative Care Conference
2016 conferences
#AHHAsim16
#AHMRC16
#ANROWS2016
#ATSISPEP
#AusCanIndigenousWellness
#cphce2016
#CPHCEforum16
#CRANAplus2016
#IAMRA2016
#LowitjaConf2016
#PreventObesity16
#TowardsRecovery
#VMIAC16
#WearablesCEH
#WICC2016
2015 conferences
#CPHCEforum
#CRANAplus15
#HSR15
#NRHC15
#OTCC15
Population Health Congress 2015
2014 conferences
#IPCHIV14
AIDA Conference 2014
Congress Lowitja 2014
CRANAplus conference 2014
Cultural Solutions - Healing Foundation forum 2014
Lowitja Institute Continuous Quality Improvement conference 2014
National Suicide Prevention Conference 2014
Racism and children/youth health symposium 2014
Rural & Remote Health Scientific Symposium 2014
2013 conferences
Australian Centre for Health Services Innovation Forum 2013
Australian Health Promotion Association Conference 2013
Closing the Credibility Gap 2013
CRANAplus Conference 2013
FASD Conference 2013
Health Workforce Australia 2013
International Health Literacy Network Conference 2013
NACCHO Summit 2013
National Rural Health Conference 2013
Oceania EcoHealth Symposium 2013
PHAA conference 2013
Croakey Professional Services archive
#CommunityControl
#CommunityControl Twitter Festival
#COVIDthinktank21
Lowitja Indigenous knowledge translation series
Croakey projects archive
#PHAAThinkTank 2022
Summer reading 2022-2023
#CommunityMatters
#CroakeyFundingDrive 2022
#CroakeyLIVE #Budget2021Health
#CroakeyLIVE #USvotesHealth
#CroakeyLIVE Federal election 2022
#CroakeyYOUTH
#HousingJusticeAus
#IndigenousHealthSummit
#IndigenousNCDs
#JustClimate
#JustJustice
#LookingLocal
#OutOfPocket
#OutOfTheBox
#RuralHealthJustice
#TalkingTeeth
@WePublicHealth2022
@WePublicHealth2021
@WePublicHealth2020
AroundTheTraps
Croakey register of influence
Croakey Register of Influencers in Public Health
Croakey Register of Unreleased Documents
Gavin Mooney
Inside Story
Journal Watch
Naked Doctor
Poems of Public Health
Summer reading 2021-2022
Summer reading 2020-2021
Summer Reading 2019-2020
Summer Reading 2017-2018
Summer Reading 2016-2017
The Koori Woman
TOO MUCH of a Good Thing
Wonky Health
CroakeyGO archive 2017 – 2018
CroakeyGo 2018
#CroakeyGO #QuantumWords 2018
#CroakeyGO #VicVotes 2018
#CroakeyGO Albury 2018
#CroakeyGO Callan Park 2018
#CroakeyGO Carnarvon 2018
#CroakeyGO Marrickville 2018
#CroakeyGO Palm Island 2018
CroakeyGo 2017
#CroakeyGO Adelaide 2017
#CroakeyGO Melbourne 2017
#CroakeyGO Newcastle 2017
#CroakeyGO Sydney 2017
Elections and Budgets 2013 – 2021
Budget2020Health
Federal Budget 2020-21
Federal Budget 2019-20
#AusVotesHealth Twitter Festival 2019
#Health4NSW
Federal Election 2019
NSW Election 2019
Federal Budget 2018-19
Federal Budget 2017/18
NZ Election 2017
Federal Budget 2016-17
Federal Election 2016
#HealthElection16
NT Election 2016
Federal Budget 2015-16
Qld Election 2015
NSW Election 2015
Federal Budget 2014-15
Victorian Election 2014
Federal Budget 2013-14
Federal Election 2013
Federal Budget 2012-2013
Federal Budget 2011
Federal Budget 2010
Federal Election 2010
Federal Budget 2009-2010
Support non-profit public interest journalism
Filter by Categories
Aged care
Budgets
Federal Budget 2024-25
Federal Budget 2023-2024
Federal Budget October 2022
Federal Budget 2022-23
Federal Budget 2021-22
Climate and health
Climate emergency
Healthcare sustainability
Heatwaves
National Health and Climate Strategy
#HealthyCOP28
#HealthyCOP27
#HealthyCOP26
#CoveringClimateNow
COVID collection
COVID-19
Long COVID
COVIDwrap
COVID SNAPS
#JusticeCOVID
Caring for the Frontline
COVIDglobalMHseries
Croakey Conference News Service
#WICC2024
Croakey Professional Services
NHLF series
#KidneyCareTogether
ACSQHC series
ACSQHC series 2022
ACSQHC series 2021
ACSQHC series 2020
ACSQHC series 2019
CATSINaM 25 Years
Croakey projects
@WePublicHealth 2024
Summer reading 2023-2024
The Zap
#CroakeyLIVE #DigitalNationBuilding
#CroakeyLIVE #VoiceForHealth
#PHAAThinkTank2023
The Health Wrap
ICYMI
@WePublicHealth
@WePublicHealth2023
#CroakeyVOICES
#SpeakingOurMinds
Croakey longreads
#CroakeyREAD
CroakeyEXPLORE
CroakeyGO
#CroakeyGO #NavigatingHealth
#GamblingHarms
#HeatwaveHealth
Mapping CroakeyGo
Determinants of health
Environmental determinants of health
Social determinants of health
Education
Discrimination
Housing
Internet access
Justice and policing
Justice Reinvestment
Newstart/JobSeeker
Poverty
Racism
Social policy
Commercial determinants of health
Alcohol
Arms industry
Digital platforms
Food and beverages
Fossil fuels
Gambling
Pharmaceutical industry
Plain packaging
Sugar tax
Tobacco
Vaping
Disasters and extreme weather events
Disasters
Extreme weather events
Bushfires
Bushfire-emergency 2019-2020
Floods 2023
Floods 2022
Floods 2021
Floods 2011
Donor-funded journalism
Donor-funded journalism – 2024
Donor-funded journalism – 2023
Donor-funded journalism – 2022
Donor-funded journalism – 2021
Donor-funded journalism – 2020
Elections
lutruwita/Tasmania 2024 election
#NSWvotesHealth2023
Victorian election 2022
Federal Election 2022
The Election Wrap 2022
#QldVotesHealth
SA election 2022
WA election 2021
Tasmanian election 2021
First Nations
Indigenous health
Community controlled sector
Cultural determinants of health
Cultural safety
Indigenous education
Social and emotional wellbeing
Uluru Statement
The Voice
Lowitja Institute
NT Intervention
WA community closures
Acknowledgement
#CTG10
#NTRC
#RCIADIC30Years
General health matters
Abortion
Cancer
Cardiovascular disease
Child health
Chronic conditions
Consumer health matters
Death and dying
Diabetes
Disabilities
Euthanasia
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)
Genetics
HIV/AIDS
HRT
Infectious diseases
Influenza
LGBTQIA+
Medical marijuana
Men's health
Mental health
Mpox
Non communicable diseases
Oral health
Organ transplants
Pain
Pregnancy and childbirth
Sexual health
Suicide
Swine flu
Trauma
Women's health
Youth health
Global health matters
Asylum seeker and refugee health
Conflict and war
Global health
WHO
Ebola
NHS
#WorldInTurmoil
Health policy and systems
Co-design
Health financing and costs
Health reform
Health regulation
Medicare 40 Years
MyMedicare
National Health Performance Authority
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
Private health insurance
Royal Commissions
TGA
Workforce matters
Strengthening Medicare Taskforce 2022
National Commission of Audit 2014
Healthcare
Adverse events
Allied healthcare
Australian Medical Association
Choosing Wisely
cohealth
Complementary medicines
Conflicts of interest
Co-payments
Digital technology
E-health
Emergency departments and care
Equally Well
General practice
Health Care Homes
Health ethics
Hospitals
International medical graduates
Medicare Locals
MyHospitals website
Naturopathy
NDIS
Nursing and midwifery
Out of pocket costs
Palliative care
Paramedics
Pathology
Pharmacy
Primary healthcare
Primary Health Networks
Rural and remote health
Safety and quality of healthcare and aged care
Screening
Social prescribing
Surgery
Telehealth
Tests
Media and health
Media-related issues
Health & medical marketing
Misinformation and disinformation
Public interest journalism
Social media and healthcare
The Conversation
Media Doctor Australia
News about Croakey
Public health and population health
Air pollution
Artificial intelligence
Australian Centre for Disease Control
Government 2.0
Gun control
Health communications
Health impact assessment
Health in All Policies
Health inequalities
Health literacy
Human rights
Illicit drugs
Injuries
Legal issues
Marriage equality
Nanny state
National Preventive Health Agency
Obesity
Occupational health
Physical activity
Prevention
Public health
Road safety
Sport
Transport
Vaccination
VicHealth
Violence
Web 2.0
Weight loss products
#PreventiveHealthStrategy
#UnmetNeedsinPublicHealth
Research matters
Cochrane Collaboration
Evidence-based issues
Health and medical education
Health and medical research
NHMRC
#MRFFtransparency
The Croakey Archives
#cripcroakey
#HealthEquity16
#HealthMatters
#IHMayDay (all years)
#IHMayDay 2014
#IHMayDay15
#IHMayday16
#IHMayDay17
#IHMayDay18
#LoveRural 2014
Croakey Conference News Service 2013 – 2023
2023 Conferences
#GreenHealthForum23
#hpsymposium2023
#NMS23
#HEAL2023
#ASMIRT2023
#NSPC23
Our Democracy Forum
#AskMSF
#Lowitja2023
2022 Conferences
#16nrhc
#GreenHealthForum22
#Heal2022
#ICEM22
#NAISA22
#NNF2022
#RANZCP2022
#RethinkAddiction
#RTP22
GiantSteps22
Equally Well 2022 Symposium
Choosing Wisely National Meeting 2022
2021 conferences
#21OPCC
#BackToTheFire
#FoodGovernance2021
#GiantSteps21
#GreenHealthForum21
#HealthClimateSolutions21
#HearMe21
#IndigenousClimateJustice21
#NNF2021
#RANZCP2021
#ShiftingGearsSummit
#ValueBasedCare
#WCepi2021
#YHFSummit
2020 conferences
#2020ResearchExcellence
#Govern4Health
#HealthReImagined
#SAHeapsUnfair
2019 Conferences
#ACEM19
#CPHCE19
#EquallyWellAust
#GiantSteps19
#HealthAdvocacyWIM
#KTthatWorks
#LowitjaConf2019
#MHAgeing
#NNF2019
#OKtoAsk2019
#RANZCOG19
#RANZCP2019
#ruralhealthconf
#VMIAC2019
#WHOcollabAHPRA
2018 conferences
#6rrhss
#ACEM18
#AHPA2018
#ATSISPC18
#CPHCE
#MHED18
#NDISMentalHealth
#Nurseforce
#OKToAsk2018
#RANZCOG18
#ResearchIntoPolicy
#VHAawards
#VMIACAwards18
#WISPC18
2017 conferences
#17APCC
#ACEM17
#AIDAconf2017
#BTH20
#CATSINaM17
#ClimateHealthStrategy
#IAHAConf17
#IDS17
#LBQWHC17
#LivingOurWay
#OKtoAskAu
#OTCC2017
#ResearchTranslation17
#TheMHS2017
#VMIACConf17
#WCPH2017
Australian Palliative Care Conference
2016 conferences
#AHHAsim16
#AHMRC16
#ANROWS2016
#ATSISPEP
#AusCanIndigenousWellness
#cphce2016
#CPHCEforum16
#CRANAplus2016
#IAMRA2016
#LowitjaConf2016
#PreventObesity16
#TowardsRecovery
#VMIAC16
#WearablesCEH
#WICC2016
2015 conferences
#CPHCEforum
#CRANAplus15
#HSR15
#NRHC15
#OTCC15
Population Health Congress 2015
2014 conferences
#IPCHIV14
AIDA Conference 2014
Congress Lowitja 2014
CRANAplus conference 2014
Cultural Solutions - Healing Foundation forum 2014
Lowitja Institute Continuous Quality Improvement conference 2014
National Suicide Prevention Conference 2014
Racism and children/youth health symposium 2014
Rural & Remote Health Scientific Symposium 2014
2013 conferences
Australian Centre for Health Services Innovation Forum 2013
Australian Health Promotion Association Conference 2013
Closing the Credibility Gap 2013
CRANAplus Conference 2013
FASD Conference 2013
Health Workforce Australia 2013
International Health Literacy Network Conference 2013
NACCHO Summit 2013
National Rural Health Conference 2013
Oceania EcoHealth Symposium 2013
PHAA conference 2013
Croakey Professional Services archive
#CommunityControl
#CommunityControl Twitter Festival
#COVIDthinktank21
Lowitja Indigenous knowledge translation series
Croakey projects archive
#PHAAThinkTank 2022
Summer reading 2022-2023
#CommunityMatters
#CroakeyFundingDrive 2022
#CroakeyLIVE #Budget2021Health
#CroakeyLIVE #USvotesHealth
#CroakeyLIVE Federal election 2022
#CroakeyYOUTH
#HousingJusticeAus
#IndigenousHealthSummit
#IndigenousNCDs
#JustClimate
#JustJustice
#LookingLocal
#OutOfPocket
#OutOfTheBox
#RuralHealthJustice
#TalkingTeeth
@WePublicHealth2022
@WePublicHealth2021
@WePublicHealth2020
AroundTheTraps
Croakey register of influence
Croakey Register of Influencers in Public Health
Croakey Register of Unreleased Documents
Gavin Mooney
Inside Story
Journal Watch
Naked Doctor
Poems of Public Health
Summer reading 2021-2022
Summer reading 2020-2021
Summer Reading 2019-2020
Summer Reading 2017-2018
Summer Reading 2016-2017
The Koori Woman
TOO MUCH of a Good Thing
Wonky Health
CroakeyGO archive 2017 – 2018
CroakeyGo 2018
#CroakeyGO #QuantumWords 2018
#CroakeyGO #VicVotes 2018
#CroakeyGO Albury 2018
#CroakeyGO Callan Park 2018
#CroakeyGO Carnarvon 2018
#CroakeyGO Marrickville 2018
#CroakeyGO Palm Island 2018
CroakeyGo 2017
#CroakeyGO Adelaide 2017
#CroakeyGO Melbourne 2017
#CroakeyGO Newcastle 2017
#CroakeyGO Sydney 2017
Elections and Budgets 2013 – 2021
Budget2020Health
Federal Budget 2020-21
Federal Budget 2019-20
#AusVotesHealth Twitter Festival 2019
#Health4NSW
Federal Election 2019
NSW Election 2019
Federal Budget 2018-19
Federal Budget 2017/18
NZ Election 2017
Federal Budget 2016-17
Federal Election 2016
#HealthElection16
NT Election 2016
Federal Budget 2015-16
Qld Election 2015
NSW Election 2015
Federal Budget 2014-15
Victorian Election 2014
Federal Budget 2013-14
Federal Election 2013
Federal Budget 2012-2013
Federal Budget 2011
Federal Budget 2010
Federal Election 2010
Federal Budget 2009-2010

The Government is well behind on Closing the Gap. This is why we needed a Voice to Parliament

Introduction by Croakey: On the 16th anniversary of the national Apology to the Stolen Generations, the Federal Government released its annual report assessing progress on the Closing the Gap during 2023 and its implementation plan for 2024, combining the two documents for the first time.

The Government also made several announcements including a new Remote Jobs and Economic Development Program that aims to create 3,000 jobs in remote Australia, replacing “the failed Community Development Program with real jobs, proper wages, and decent conditions”.

The Government will also appoint a National Commissioner for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Young People, with an interim Commissioner to be appointed mid-year, to work with the government and First Nations expert advisers to determine the powers, roles and functions of the National Commissioner, which will be established under legislation.

2024 initiatives identified in the new report include:

  • Establishment of an independent National Justice Reinvestment Unit, to support the Commonwealth’s implementation of community-led justice initiatives.
  • The Attorney-General is to continue to work with state and territory governments in progressing minimum age of criminal responsibility reform nationally.
  • The Wiyi Yani U Thangani Change Agenda for First Nations Gender Justice and Equality is to be released by mid-2024, to guide investment in First Nations women-led initiatives.
  • A National Cultural Safety Working Group will be established for the Australian Public Service, to implement a nationally consistent cultural safety definition and guiding principles, with the aim of ensuring APS staff are more responsive and respectful to the cultural needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and staff.
  • From this year, all Commonwealth departments and agencies will be required to include a statement of progress against Closing the Gap in their Annual Reports.

In releasing the report, the Prime Minister said it shows that 11 out of 19 socioeconomic outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are improving, with just four on track to meet their targets.

“What should give us pause is that outcomes have worsened for four critical targets – children’s early development, rates of children in out-of-home care, rates of adult imprisonment, and tragically suicide,” he said.

In the report’s foreword, the Prime Minister stressed the importance of listening to people and communities “so their wisdom and experience can help shape the policies and programs that affect their lives”.

“By any standard, the status quo in everything from housing and health to jobs and justice remains unacceptable,” he said. “We cannot keep doing the same thing and expect to achieve a different outcome. As a Government and a nation, our approach has to change.”

In the article below, first published at The Conversation, James Blackwell, a Wiradjuri man and academic at the Australian National University, underscores the importance of self-determination, genuine co-design, and implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

And he has a pointed question for those politicians who campaigned against the referendum for a constitutionally enshrined First Nations Voice to Parliament.


James Blackwell writes:

Another year, and another Closing the Gap report comes before the parliament and the Australian people. This year, however, the scene is somewhat different. The 2024 Closing the Gap report is the first since Australians resoundingly rejected the proposal to enshrine a First Nations Voice to Parliament in the Constitution.

That proposal would have given Indigenous peoples across this country a much greater say in the decisions that affect us, and given us more control over our own affairs and in our own communities. But it failed at the ballot box. Every jurisdiction (bar the ACT) voted “no” to putting this idea into our Constitution, ensuring its longevity and stability, and allowing our input into our affairs to become mainstream.

With that in mind, it’s unsurprising that in this year’s Closing the Gap report, the Government outlines that just four of the 19 targets are on track to be bridged. Yes, four out of 19. That’s a little more than one in five. Not only that, but four measures have got worse. Government is continuing to fail our communities. And we all had a chance to fix it.

The Government has announced some welcome measures, including creating a National Commissioner for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Young People – a long overdue initiative. It’s also committed to building remote training hubs and improving community wifi services for around 20 remote communities. Small measures, but they don’t address the structural nature of our powerlessness.

While the referendum failed, there clearly remains a dire need in our communities for fundamental change. So what does the Closing the Gap Report this year represent for mob? How can the way government interacts with Indigenous people and communities be improved?

‘What’s next?’ is the wrong question to ask

Many people have asked since the failed referendum, “what’s next then?”, as if there were a litany of plans B through Z waiting in the wings to solve what is arguably the greatest social issue this country faces, that of Indigenous disadvantage. This question has become a staple of pundits and commentators trying to look smart following a referendum process during which they fundamentally failed on the civics, the politics and the journalism of Indigenous issues.

Before we ask about what comes next though, we must ask what has come already, and whether efforts at closing the gap over the past three years, since the agreement was overhauled by the Morrison Government, have worked.

The Productivity Commission, in a “scathing” report issued last week, was very clear that what this country is doing is not working, and without fundamental change to the government’s approach, never will.

The Commission’s view is that progress in implementing the priority reforms of the Closing the Gap Agreement has been “weak, and reflects tweaks to, or actions overlayed onto, business-as-usual approaches”. Its overarching finding was that “there has been no systematic approach to determining what strategies need to be implemented to disrupt business-as-usual of governments”, and “fundamental change is needed”. The commission noted:

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

The Commision’s view on what has gone wrong not just in the past three years of the Closing the Gap Agreement, but also more fundamentally what has gone wrong in the past three centuries of policy towards Indigenous people in this country is one shared by our communities. There is a reason our communities voted “yes” in the referendum by overwhelming margins.

Closing the Gap in 2024

The one thing to understand about the gap in outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples is that it is not something that ever needed be this way. It is not a natural phenomenon. As the Productivity Commission found, “it is a direct result of the ways in which governments have used their power over many decades”.

There are some good things in this year’s announcments: $707 million to help create jobs in our communities over the next three years, and a replacement of the much-maligned Community Development Program (CDP), and which includes a $185 million Community Jobs and Business Fund for local and community-owned businesses.

There is also the National Skills Agreement, which includes a dedicated stream of funding for closing the gap to support community-controlled registered training organisations. There is also more funding to expand Indigenous ranger programs for our youth.

These things are good, but what is needed more is a reset to the government’s approach.

Acting Lead Convenor of the Coalition of Peaks, Celeste Liddle, has rightly noted that “implementation of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap has been patchy and governments have been too slow to deliver the commitments and promises they have made.” The Productivity Commission has echoed this view, saying “business-as-usual must be a thing of the past”.

How do we overcome these barriers? For too long government has ignored our people’s views and positions on the issues that affect us. Our self-determination and control of our own agendas has been absent from the discussion. The Voice to Parliament would have been one way for that to start to be mended, but the Liberal/National Coalition decided they weren’t ready for that.

So, what indeed comes next?

Governments need to prioritise Indigenous peoples and communities in decision-making. That means meaningful transformation, capacity-building, and genuine co-design, not half-hearted “consultation” on policies for which the government merely wants consent. It likely means the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), and all that that provides. These are just starting points, but they will get us somewhere.

Also, next time you run into one of the many MPs and shadow ministers who campaigned against a Voice to Parliament, ask them what their plan is to close the gap and empower Indigenous peoples and communities.

Author details

A proud Wiradjuri man, James Blackwell is a Research Fellow in Indigenous Diplomacies at the Australian National University’s Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs. HIS work is currently focused on conceptualising First Nations foreign policy approaches in the Twenty-First Century, and how First Nations peoples and knowledges can be better utilised in IR theory and foreign policy practice. He also has written on United States domestic/electoral politics, civil-military relations, and US foreign and defence policy. He has experience working with remote and disadvantaged First Nations communities around Australia, and has large networks across these spaces. James is a current member of the Uluru Dialogue based out of UNSW, working to support the Uluru Statement from the Heart, and on advancing a constitutionally-enshrined First Nations Voice to Parliament, both through advocacy and through research. He is also Co-Chair of Croakey Health Media.


Further reading

Statement by SNAICC: The Federal Government’s commitment to establish a National Commissioner will be a game changer for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families. SNAICC CEO Catherine Liddle congratulated the Federal Government for its commitment to establish the role, which will focus on advocating for evidence-based change to policies and systems that will ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children grow up safe, connected to their family and cultural identity.

“Our sector and our communities have been calling for a National Commissioner for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children for many years, to tackle the over-representation of young people in out-of-home care and youth detention,” Ms Liddle said. “The National Commissioner will be the champion, the voice and facilitator for our children, young people and families, and who will hold governments to account.

Statement on the Apology anniversary by National Association of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Practitioners (NAATSIHWP): “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people survived the Stolen Generations because of our own strength and resilience. We have demonstrated that the only successful healing initiatives are those which are designed and implemented by us. As a workforce designed by Mob for Mob, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Health Practitioner professions are a primary example of the success of this approach. We have shown, time and time again, that the answer lies in self-determination. Therefore, we are seeking unconditional investment in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led initiatives to improve health and wellbeing outcomes for our Mob. We are seeking deep systems change; a total reform to current ways of working. To heal from assimilation and colonisation, and to continue to flourish, we require power and control over our own lives.”

Statement by the Healing Foundation CEO Shannan Dodson: “For many the Apology was about bringing hope that Stolen Generations survivor voices would drive individual, community, and national healing. As part of the Apology, former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd promised to deliver a report card each year on the Government’s efforts to close the gap.

We know that Closing the Gap is critical work, but we remind Australians that February 13 is about survivors, it is about their truth; our truth. We must honour the original intent of the day, which was to acknowledge the ongoing impact of the policies of the past. As the report is handed down today, we must recognise that Stolen Generations survivors are a ‘gap within the gap’, a statistical indicator of truth not reconciled. As Stolen Generations survivors age, urgency grows. Many survivors have still not had access to redress schemes, a cornerstone of the Bringing Them Home report that was delivered nearly 30 years ago.

Survivors are ageing and face multiple challenges stemming from histories of forced removal, many will not access aged care services as a result. We must ensure consistent and adequate compensation is seen by survivors in their lifetime. And with many survivors sadly passing away, there is no time to waste. We invite Australians to stand alongside Stolen Generations survivors as we renew our call for the counting of actions, not anniversaries.”

Albanese Government media release, 13 February: Next steps on Closing the Gap: delivering remote jobs

Commonwealth Closing the Gap 2023 Annual Report and 2024 Implementation Plan

Prime Minister’s speech on Closing the Gap, 13 February