Progress towards Closing the Gap

News & Resources

Closing the Gap is a commitment by the Australian Government and State and Territory governments to improve the lives of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal Australians and, in particular, to provide a better future for Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal children.

A national integrated Closing the Gap strategy has been agreed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), the peak intergovernmental forum in Australia. COAG brings together the Prime Minister, State Premiers, Territory Chief Ministers and the President of the Australian Local Government Association.

Closing the Gap is linked to a wider reform of Commonwealth–State financial relations. COAG's national agreements and partnerships, in areas such as education, housing and health, are clearly focused on overcoming Indigenous disadvantage.

Targets

In 2008, COAG set specific and ambitious targets for Closing the Gap; these targets continue to remain a priority for the Australian Government:

  • to close the life expectancy gap within a generation
  • to halve the gap in mortality rates for Indigenous children under five within a decade
  • to ensure access to early childhood education for all Indigenous four year olds in remote communities within five years
  • to halve the gap in reading, writing and numeracy achievements for children within a decade
  • to halve the gap for Indigenous students in Year 12 (or equivalent) attainment rates by 2020
  • to halve the gap in employment outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a decade.

In 2012 - 2013, the TSRA continued to work towards the six COAG targets through the organisation's planned outcome statement:

Progress towards Closing the Gap for Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people living in the Torres Strait region through development planning, coordination, sustainable resource management, and preservation and promotion of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal culture.

Each of the TSRA programs is required to report against the COAG targets. Detailed reporting is contained in Section 2 of this Annual Report.

COAG Building Blocks

The TSRA's Program structure is based on the six COAG Building Blocks for Closing the Gap in disadvantage between Indigenous and non- Indigenous Australians. The Building Blocks are also used as the framework for the TSRA's Integrated Service Delivery (ISD) project.

In 2008 - 2009, The TSRA completed community consultations as part of the development of the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area Regional Plan 2009 - 2029. The first phase of the Regional Plan has been delivered through the Torres Strait Development Plan 2009 - 2013 and the second phase is under development and will be published as the Torres Strait Development Plan 2014 - 2018 in June 2014. The ISD Project identified 1,619 gaps in service delivery across 20 Communities. Progress is measured every second year. The status as at 30 June 2012 measured using each of the Building Blocks is shown in Table 3-1 and Figure 3-1 below. Detail of the services by community is contained in the Torres Strait Regional Plan Community Booklets 2012, which have been prepared for each community and published through the TSRA's Information Publishing Scheme. The Booklets can be accessed on the TSRA website www.tsra.gov.au . The Booklets will be updated in 2014.

Table 3-1 Summary of Community Service Issues by Building Block

Community Service Issues 2008
Not yet programmed / Not feasible / Not a government provided service
2008
Funding has been secured / Planning is in Progress / Construction is Underway
2008
Service or infrastructure has been completed / is available / has been established
2012
Not yet programmed / Not feasible / Not a government provided service
2012
Funding has been secured / Planning is in Progress / Construction is Underway
2012
Service or infrastructure has been completed / is available / has been established
Early Childhood 59 0 0 34 20 5
Schooling 133 0 0 32 63 38
Health 313 0 0 117 126 70
Economic Participation 323 0 0 152 108 63
Healthy Homes 248 0 0 74 147 27
Safe Communities 441 0 0 185 167 89
Governance and Leadership 102 0 0 22 40 40
Community Total 1619 0 0 616 671 332

Figure 3-1 Progress towards Closing the Gap by Building Block

Eight pie charts illustrating the progress towards closing the gap by building block