In response to requests from the Aboriginal community, particularly the Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Organisations (the Coalition of Peaks), for a greater level of Aboriginal consultation and involvement, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed at its December 2018 meeting in Adelaide to enter into a formal partnership with the Aboriginal community to develop and implement the refreshed Closing the Gap framework.
This resulted in the establishment of the Joint Ministerial Council on Closing the Gap (Joint Council) as the body to develop the priorities, targets and indicators for the new Closing the Gap framework and to oversee its implementation.
The Joint Council comprises one Minister from each jurisdiction, a representative from the Coalition of Peaks from each state and territory and the President of the Local Government Association.
It is the first COAG Council to include non-government members as equal partners. The South Australian representative is Ms Cheryl Axleby, Chief Executive of the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement Inc. based in Adelaide.
In addition to establishing the Joint Council, a Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap was developed by the Coalition of Peaks, setting out the role and responsibilities of the Joint Council members. The Premier of South Australia, the Hon Steven Marshall MP, was one of the first to sign the agreement, doing so on 26 March 2019.