Local outcomes on better health, education, employment and housing for Aboriginal Victorians is in the spotlight today for National Close the Gap Day.
Victoria has failed to close the gap in four of the seven original priority target measures and has recorded declining outcomes in education participation, Indigenous suicide rates and out-of-home care.
Aboriginal Australian’s life expectancy is approximately seven years lower than non-Indigenous Victorians.
Aboriginal Victorians are four times more likely to be homeless, while the hospitalisation for chronic conditions has increased almost 85 per cent.
In Mildura today, Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minster for Aboriginal Affairs Peter Walsh said the Victorian Government’s lack of a co-ordinated approach is failing to close the gap.
“Better outcomes in education, healthcare, secure employment and housing are the foundations of opportunity that set individuals up for long and healthy lives,” Mr Walsh said.
“Persistently low levels of education attainment compared to non-Indigenous students lead to challenges later in life with attaining work and long-term financial security.
“In Victoria, the bureaucracy has a siloed approach to education, health and housing meaning these divisions don’t work together for better outcomes.
“Breaking down these barriers with a whole-of-government approach would be a positive step to secure progress in foundational areas, setting Indigenous Victorians up for good health, education and financial wellbeing throughout life.”
Closing the Gap is a vehicle for government to work with Indigenous communities to deliver better outcomes where it’s needed most.
But the results of NAPLAN in 2021 again show that Victoria is failing to close educational gaps.
Mr Walsh said a general lack of consistent data collection in Victoria left the Government running blind in some of the most pressing priority areas.
“14 years on from Closing the Gap being signed, the Victorian Government still isn’t working from reliable data in priority areas like suicide rates. Victoria can’t make genuine progress without reliable data,” Mr Walsh said.
“Improved education will lead to more secure employment and improved financial wellbeing. These foundations are also building blocks for secure housing and better physical and mental health outcomes.
“Closing the Gap was developed to deliver meaningful progress where it’s needed, but on too many measures, Victoria is falling further behind.”