The COAG Reform Council's latest (and final) report , Indigenous Reform 2012-13: Five years of Performance(COAG Report) shows gains in primary education, Year 12 attainment and post school qualifications—but employment is not improving.
Launching the report in Canberra, Chairman of the COAG Reform Council, the Hon John Brumby, said governments have made some promising gains in education but not in employment. COAG's target is to halve the gap in employment outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians by 2018 but over the past 5 years, this gap widened.
There is better news in education, but the findings are not all positive. Falls in school attendance were larger and more widespread than improvements, and high school numeracy results worsened.
In the health findings, the report shows that faster progress is needed to meet COAG's target to close the life expectancy gap by 2031. Obesity is highlighted as an area of concern, with more than 41% of Indigenous people obese, compared to 27% of non-Indigenous Australians. While there is good news in declining smoking rates, Indigenous Australians are still more than twice as likely to smoke as non-Indigenous Australians.
Mr Brumby said the report's results emphasise an ongoing need for COAG to strengthen its performance reporting and accountability framework for Indigenous reform.
"While we are pleased to find successes in this report, we are wary that there is still hard work to be done in some areas. This is the time to regroup and to see these reforms through."Gap widens (ABC Lateline Report) Budget cuts threaten future Closing the Gap outcomes (Australian Greens)