Close the Gap Day 2018: AASW renews its call for a greater focus on social justice and reconciliation
Published: 15 March 2018
On National Close the Gap Day, the AASW has today called for significant and immediate action to address the entrenched inequality and disadvantage faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
AASW National President Christine Craik said, “The latest Close the Gap progress report has highlighted how after twelve years, only three of the seven targets are on track to being met. Year after year the reports continue to demonstrate the staggering levels of inequality for Indigenous people across many areas including health, education and employment outcomes.
“Every day, social workers witness the devastating impacts that this has on the children, families and communities they work with.
“The figures are shocking, especially when you take into consideration that there have been no significant changes in life expectancy or child mortality rates since 2008. This is evidence of the failure of consecutive governments to not only address inequality, but to also understand it.
“As we have stated numerous times, governments need to begin by listening to Indigenous communities and working together with a clear focus on social justice and reconciliation.
“This begins by working with Indigenous communities in partnership and collaboration, drawing upon their knowledge and expertise. It also means a commitment from all levels of government to better supporting and resourcing Indigenous services to achieve far better outcomes.
“This is a national crisis that requires a comprehensive and systematic approach that explores the social, historical, economic and cultural factors that entrench and perpetuate these injustices. Including a greater investment in early intervention and family support services.
“With Indigenous children nearly ten times more likely to be removed from their family than non-Indigenous children, we have a situation where over $4 billion dollars are spent annually on funding the child protection system, and less than $800 million spent on family support services. Prevention and funding the appropriate services needs to be a priority.
“Closing the gap is possible, but this needs to start by working towards meaningful relationships with Indigenous leaders and communities built on recognition, respect and trust.”
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