New National Agreement on Closing the Gap to strengthen outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families

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30 July 2020

VACCA welcomes the new National Agreement on Closing the Gap to strengthen outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families.

The Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA) came together with more than 50 other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled peak organisations to negotiate a comprehensive National Agreement on Closing the Gap with the Commonwealth and all State and Territory Governments.

The new National Agreement is a commitment from all governments to fundamentally change the way they work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations.

Representing SNAICC on the Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peaks VACCA's CEO Adjunct Professor Muriel Bamblett AO says,

"The new National Agreement on Closing the Gap recognises that structural reforms, including addressing institutionalised racism and genuine shared decision making with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, are the keys to succeeding where the previous Closing the Gap agreement failed.

Governments have made a commitment to reduce the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care by 45% by 2031, echoing calls from VACCA and SNAICC to eliminate the over-representation of our children in out-of-home care by 2040.

Achieving this target will require the empowerment of Aboriginal agencies in determining children's best interests and greater investment in early intervention and family support to keep our children safely connected to family, culture and kin," says Ms Bamblett.

"This agreement includes Priority Reforms, Outcomes and Targets with implementation to focus on partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and building the capacity of our Aboriginal community-controlled services. Improving data, monitoring and Aboriginal led independent evaluation will make sure we are capturing a true picture of progress in securing the wellbeing of our children and families."

More than 4000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people participated in community engagements on what should be included in the new National Agreement, guiding us in our negotiations.

The National Agreement brings both new and renewed focus on issues affecting our families including family violence, health justice, social and emotional wellbeing, education, out-of-home care and early childhood. We welcome this more holistic approach to addressing disadvantage through shared decision making, funding reform and addressing systemic racism.

"There is significant work to do but we are steadfast in our commitment to working collaboratively with the Victorian ACCO network, and the state and federal government through the Closing the Gap Agreement.

The future of our children relies on this agreement setting a new standard of working together, we will hold the government accountable to meeting these new targets." — Adjunct Professor Muriel Bamblett AO, CEO VACCA.

To read the full new National Agreement on Closing the Gap, visit the Coalition of Peaks website here.

ENDS

For more information and media enquiries

  • VACCA: Muriel Bamblett on 0407 802 026
  • Coalition of Peaks: Jo Scard on 0457 725 953 or jo@fiftyacres.com; and Julia Macerola on 0422 337 332 or julia@fiftyacres.com

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