” National Congress and Redfern Statement Alliance leaders meeting in Canberra yesterday have expressed dismay over last minute changes to a high-level Aboriginal peak body meeting for the Closing the Gap Refresh consultations.
Co-Chair Rod Little expressed his frustration, saying ‘it is critical that the government respects the need for Aboriginal peak bodies to share their expert views without having to accommodate other powerful voices such as NGOs.”
Download full Press Release : National Congress – Closing the Gap Refresh Rejigged – Final pdf Media Release Final 4th April 2018 (1)
The Closing the Gap Refresh agenda stated: ‘Australian governments acknowledge they need to work differently with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.’
Our Redfern Statement called for the government to ‘commit to better engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through their representative national peaks.’ More specifically, the recommendation focused on ‘convening regular high level ministerial and departmental meetings and forums with the National Congress and the relevant peak organisations and forums.’
National Congress has only recently learnt that no longer will Aboriginal peak bodies be given the much-anticipated exclusive opportunity to voice their views on the Refresh project.
Now we understand that the government organisers have opened the doors to a range of non-indigenous NGOs to participate on the same day.
Whilst these organisations have valuable contributions to make, this may not be the appropriate forum.
The consultation process is already compressed enough without our organisations having to abbreviate our important contributions.”
What is potentially being overlooked by consultation organisers is how having NGOs present might impact on critical evaluations of the influence of NGOs themselves on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs.
It should not be taken for granted that NGOs and Aboriginal peak bodies see eye to eye on a range of issues, and the sensitive issue of setting targets for Closing the Gap may well be such an issue.
National Congress reminds the government that the Redfern Statement Alliance is an excellent framework with which to engage Aboriginal peak bodies.
No member of this alliance wants to see its perspectives on Closing the Gap Refresh watered down or diminished by competing organisations.
Our peak organisations are calling for the full attention of the government and an exclusive opportunity to have our voices heard.
The government is not meeting its own expectations and working ‘differently’ by having powerful NGO representatives share this key consultation.
We would like this to be addressed as a matter of urgency.
Background to #CTGRefresh
Another step in this process is to consider how governments can improve program implementation. Six implementation principles have been developed to guide the new Closing the Gap agenda.
The principles are:
- Funding prioritised to meet targets
- Evidence-based programs and policies
- Genuine collaboration between governments and communities
- Programs and services tailored for communities
- Shared decision-making
- Clear roles, responsibilities and accountability
How you can get involved ?
We want your views on the future of Closing the Gap. What is important, what worked and how can we do better?
“We have to be there to be part of the conversation, so let’s get with it.” – Chris Sarra, Co-Chair Indigenous Advisory Council, and Founder and Chair, Stronger, Smarter Institute
We’re interested in getting your thoughts on a few questions below. You don’t need to answer every question.
Alternatively, you may prefer to upload a submission.
Once you’ve completed your response, click ‘Next’ and we will ask you a few questions about yourself.
Read the discussion paper for more information on the Closing the Gap Refresh.
Submissions close 5pm AEDT 30 April 2018.