Australia is continuing to fail to bridge the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, according to the Close the Gap report released today.
The annual report showed disappointing results in the areas of life expectancy, early education and employment. It follows a $500 million budget cut to Indigenous programs last year.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott told Parliament much more work was needed in this area.
“This seventh Closing The Gap report is, in many respects, profoundly disappointing,” he said.
“The report shows high numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with treatable and preventable chronic conditions, yet Aboriginal people on the ground are being drip-fed their funding,” Labor’s Indigenous senator, Nova Peris, told the ABC this morning.
Close the Gap co-chair Kirstie Parker said the government needed to turn its words with action.
“We’ve heard fine words from governments for seven years now, but we’ve seen diminished funding going to community organisations and Aboriginal community controlled health services – which are the backbone of the health sector and deliver results in terms of better health outcomes,” Ms Parker said in a press release.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten used this morning’s address as an opportunity to call for cuts to the Indigenous Affairs to be reversed.
“This is an endeavour when every opposition wants the Government to succeed but when a government cuts $500 million from essential services we are compelled to point out what these cuts mean,” he said.
A number of government MPs walked out of the chamber during the Labor leader’s speech.
– Rachel Mall
Top photo from TysonA’s Flickr photostream.