7 FEBRUARY 2024
Today’s release of a major review by the Productivity Commission shows that governments are failing to prioritise the life outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by failing to deliver on the commitments outlined in the National Agreement on Closing the Gap.
VACCA urges the government to take the findings in the review seriously, and act on their commitments by providing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with an equal say in decisions and policies that affect their lives, and through adequate funding of Aboriginal-led programs and services.
“We need greater transparency in how Government funds are used and a focus on strengthening ACCOs under its commitments to Close the Gap. Recent investments in child protection and targeted funding allocations for Aboriginal-led family violence supports are great examples of moving in the right direction. But we need consistency in practice and policies across the whole of Government,” said VACCA CEO Muriel Bamblett.
“The Productivity Commission is clear, major action and reform is needed across Government. Aboriginal people must be included in the conversation or the current gap between life outcomes for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people will remain.”
The National Agreement on Closing the Gap is a commitment from governments to fundamentally shift the way they work with our people and communities. Instead of delivering on the Four Priority Reforms outlined in the Agreement, little has been done to embed the changes needed at both a state and federal level in support of meaningful action and change. The Review has highlighted that while a lack of independent oversight remains, accountability for implementation is diminished and nothing will change.
The Review also highlighted the need for changes to budgeting processes to increase transparency and strengthen shared decision-making, to ensure that the needs of the Aboriginal community are reflected in Victoria’s future planning. To achieve this, VACCA is asking the Victorian Government to work in partnership with ACCOs to develop budget priorities and bids for progressing implementation of Closing the Gap reforms.
“The path forward is levering Government’s commissioning powers and policy platforms. Not everything needs expensive legislation change. The solutions are there, we are waiting for them to be acted on. We must be given voice,” said Ms Bamblett. “Change is only possible if we are given decision making powers in matters that affect us.”
Government must use this Review as an opportunity to act on what we have been saying all along – that we understand what is best for our communities, and that nothing will change until we are heard.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 7 Feb 2024
Beth Cesarin – Senior Manager, Communications and Public Affairs
T: 0439 117 408 / E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarah Gafforini – Director, Office of the CEO VACCA
T: 0427 621 421 / E: email@example.com
ABOUT VACCA - www.vacca.org
The Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA) is the State’s leading Aboriginal child and family services organisation, and the largest provider of services for Aboriginal family violence and homelessness. We have been supporting children, young people and families in the community for over 45 years, as an Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation (ACCO).
Through our vision of self-determination – Live, Experience, and Be – we exist to support culturally strong, safe and thriving Aboriginal communities. We deliver over 70 programs across Victoria including child and family services, family violence, support for stolen generations, child protection, cultural strengthening programs, mental health, financial services, justice and redress support, early years and homelessness services.
We acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands on which we work. We pay our respects to their elders, past and present, and to their children and young people who are the future elders and caretakers of this great land.