July 29, 2022
The release of new data from the productivity commission indicates only four of the 17 targets under the National Agreement on Closing the Gap are on track to be met in the next 10 years.
VACCA is disappointed but not surprised by the little progress made over the last 3 years and calls for more accountability from government at all levels to fully commit to all aspects of the National Agreement, and address poor progress outcomes.
Most concerning are the targets that are falling behind:
Out-of-home care rate - 57.6 per 1000 children (6.3 per cent increase in two years; target 45 per cent decrease) - Victoria is the worst performing State
School-starters developmentally on track - 34.3 per cent (0.9 per cent decrease in three years; target 55 per cent)
Adult incarceration rate - 2222.7 per 100,000 adults (3.7 per cent increase in two years; target 15 per cent reduction)
Suicide rate - 27.9 people per 100,000 people (11.6 per cent increase in two years; target "significant and sustained reduction'')
VACCA would like to see more action to achieve measurable outcomes and reporting. VACCA awaits the meeting of the joint council on Closing the Gap will be held in Adelaide at the end of August.
VACCA CEO Muriel Bamblett says “We saw three Aboriginal elected members of Parliament give their maiden speeches to parliament this week. Aboriginal people know what is best for their own communities – we must stop family violence and make women and children safe, we must strengthen families to stop child removals and we must invest in the early years and education to build thriving communities.
“Implementing these plans present challenges for the ACCO sector nationally but we are ready for change and are committed to building and resourcing our sector to achieve these outcomes. We cannot let this fail.
“We need all governments to invest in Aboriginal peoples and communities and not just invest in themselves. If Government could do this alone we wouldn’t have a gap. We can’t continue to repeat history, words are not enough. The Aboriginal Sector needs to be able act and act now,” Ms Bamblett said.
VACCA welcomes the announcement by government to boost funding to conserve culture and languages.
Over the next three years, $57 million will be invested in community and language programs to ensure Indigenous Culture and languages are safeguarded.
“This funding will be crucial to preserving Aboriginal identity and culture. We know kids grow up strong when they are connected and surrounded by their culture. We see first-hand that children have better outcomes at school, at home, when they know their identity and are connected to community and Country,” Ms Bamblett said.
“Funding is needed to support programs like VACCA’s cultural strengthening and healing programs, that are focused on building identity and connection to culture for our kids in care.
“Our priority is to work with young people who have been in foster care, kinship care or residential care or involvement with our other programs, we know there is a growing demand for Cultural Healing programs across Victoria.”