Closing the Gap Roundtable
The Law Council attended the Closing the Gap roundtable on Monday 20 August 2018 in Canberra, hosted by the Department Prime Minister and Cabinet.
Roundtable attendees heard existing Closing the Gap targets are likely to be retained and critically reviewed, with the following areas identified for additional targets:
- Families, children and youth
- Justice, including youth justice
- Economic development
- Culture and language
- Eliminating racism and systemic discrimination
The goal of the Canberra roundtable was to test the proposed targets grouped into the above areas.
The Law Council’s focus was on those new targets relating to justice and family violence given this was central to the Law Council’s submission to the Closing the Gap Refresh Discussion Paper, and features prominently in the recently released final report of the Justice Project (particularly recommendation 7.7).
The Law Council has made repeated calls for the inclusion of justice targets and associated action by Australian governments to address the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in imprisonment, as well as the disproportionate levels of violence experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (particularly family and domestic violence).
While it is positive to see a commitment towards the introduction of targets in the justice space, it is important that the wording of the targets and indicators are drafted in a way that allows for progress to be properly measured and ensures that the Council of Australian Governments retains accountability for these critical areas.
The Law Council appreciated the opportunity to participate in the roundtable and will continue to work with the Government and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled organisations to improve the effectiveness of the Close the Gap initiative into the future.