qld_cp_news_yarrabah_11jul17
qld_cp_news_yarrabah_11jul17

Are Closing the Gap targets vital goals or hot air?

CLOSING the gap. Three words from which Yarrabah Mayor Ross Andrews will not back down.

The elected leader of the Cape Grafton community has welcomed the revised targets to eliminate Indigenous disadvantage but knows words are cheap.

"All of these targets are priorities for Yarrabah," Cr Andrews said.

"We still need the investment and support by states, territories and the Federal Government ... to achieve social and health targets and upstream issues such as overcrowding.

"We are in crisis management with high chronic disease and the health indicators point in the wrong direction."

The 16 new CTG targets include that by 2031, the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults held in incarceration would be reduced by at least 15 per cent, that 88 per cent of Indigenous people live in appropriate housing and that at least 67 per cent of young Indigenous adults are in training, study or employment.

Yarrabah Mayor Ross Andrews. PICTURE: JUSTIN BRIERTY
Yarrabah Mayor Ross Andrews. PICTURE: JUSTIN BRIERTY


The revised CTG aims follows extensive consultation with Indigenous stakeholders after a spectacular failure to reach earlier targets.

Cape York Partnerships have derided the new CTG targets as lacking substance.

"More targets won't change anything," CYP CEO Fiona Jose said.

"This refresh has been in train since 2013 and after seven years there are no innovative suggestions on how we CTG for the people on the ground."

She said solutions needed to cross racial boundaries.

"We recently proposed to the Prime Minister that he create a Job Guarantee scheme where all Australians in need of a job get one," Ms Jose said.

Fiona Jose is the Chief Executive Officer at Cape York Partnerships. Picture: BRENDAN RADKE.
Fiona Jose is the Chief Executive Officer at Cape York Partnerships. Picture: BRENDAN RADKE.

"If we continue to think the solutions for Indigenous people are different to other Australians suffering unemployment and disadvantage, we will get nowhere."

This year has been one of renewed interest in the welfare of Indigenous communities.

Riots on New Year's Day at Aurukun and a subsequent refugee crisis shed light on the clan-based violence and the black lives matter movement galvanised attention on longstanding grievances of traditional owners.

Recently a parliamentary inquiry has begun investigating sky high food prices in Cape communities and is expected to sit for hearings in Cairns later this year.

Originally published as Are Closing the Gap targets vital goals or hot air?


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