Today in Parliament, The Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, released the Closing the Gap report.

The journey to close the gap began in 2005, with the release of the Social Justice Report 2005, which called for Australian governments to commit to achieving equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in health and life expectancy within 25 years. The Close the Gap campaign was launched in 2007.

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG), in December 2008, pledged to close key gaps, and recognised that a concerted national effort was needed to address Indigenous disadvantage in key areas. Six Closing the Gap targets were introduced and a school attendance target was added in 2014 with an expanded early childhood target added in 2015.

With four of the seven targets due to expire in 2018, the Australian Government developed the Closing the Gap Refresh. The new framework builds on the original Closing the Gap targets for a further ten years. This report shows progress against the original targets set in 2008.

Progress against the targets

There are currently seven Closing the Gap targets. Two targets, early childhood education and Year 12 attainment, are on track to be met.[1]

  • The target to halve the gap in child mortality rates by 2018 is not on track. Since the target baseline (2008) Indigenous child mortality rates have declined by 10% (not statistically significant) but the gap has not narrowed as the non-Indigenous rate has declined at a faster rate.
  • The target to have 95% of Indigenous four year olds enrolled in early childhood education by 2025 is on track. In 2017, 95% of Indigenous four year olds were enrolled in early childhood education.
  • The target to close the gap in school attendance by 2018 is not on track. Attendance rates for Indigenous students have not improved between 2014 and 2018 (around 82% in 2018) and remain below the rate for non-Indigenous students (around 93%).
  • The target to close the gap in life expectancy by 2031 is not on track. Between 2010?12 and 2015?17, Indigenous life expectancy at birth improved by 2.5 years for Indigenous males and by 1.9 years for Indigenous females (both not statistically significant), which has led to a small reduction in the gap.
  • There is no new national data available for three targets and their status remains the same as for the 2018 Report.[2] The target to halve the gap in Year 12 attainment or equivalent by 2020 is on track. The target to halve the gap in reading and numeracy by 2018 is not on track. The target to halve the gap in employment by 2018 is not on track.

Progress across NSW

Progress against the targets for each state and territory varies and is summarised in Table 1, which indicates where targets are on track. More detailed analysis of progress in each of the target areas is found in the chapters of this report.

Table 1: Progress against the targets[A]

Target NSW Aus/Total
Child mortality (2018)[B]
Early childhood education (2025) ? ?
School attendance (2018)
Life expectancy (2031)[C]
Year 12 or equivalent (2020)[D] ?
Reading and numeracy (2018)[E]
Employment (2018)[F] ?

[A] A tick ? indicates the target is on track. A dash – indicates the data are either not published or there is no agreed trajectory. Remaining targets are not on track.

The full Closing The Gap report can be found at: