Refresh of the Closing the Gap Framework
In December 2016, in recognition of the approaching 10th anniversary of the Closing the Gap strategy, and with four of the seven targets due to expire in 2018, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) determined to refresh the strategy with new targets.
During 2017 and 2018, the Australian Government convened a series of engagement workshops around Australia to develop targets and indicators for the refreshed Closing the Gap framework, and held a special gathering of prominent Aboriginal Australians in Canberra.
The Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Organisations (Coalition of Peaks) expressed concern about governments’ consultation processes, and wrote to First Ministers seeking a genuine partnership with the Aboriginal community to develop and implement the refreshed Closing the Gap strategy.
COAG agreed to enter into a formal partnership with Aboriginal Australians, which resulted in the establishment of the Joint Ministerial Council on Closing the Gap as the body to develop the targets for the refreshed framework and oversee its implementation.
Since that time, Australian, state and territory governments, the Australian Local Government Association, and the Coalition of Peaks, collaborated and negotiated to finalise a new National Agreement on Closing the Gap, which came into effect in July 2020.
On a jurisdictional level, through Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation (AAR), the South Australian Government has worked in partnership with the Coalition of Peaks’ South Australian representative member organisation, the South Australian Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation Network (SAACCON), to develop South Australia’s Implementation Plan for Closing the Gap.
South Australia’s first Implementation Plan has a strong focus on the priority reform areas identified in the new National Agreement, and contains over 200 government agency actions and programs that are, and will, address the Closing the Gap priority reform areas and targets.
AAR and SAACCON will continue to work in partnership as we move into the implementation phase of Closing the Gap, as well as ensuring the crucial monitoring and reporting requirements are met.