Australia has made progress in improving education for indigenous people, but is still dropping short in many areas, an annual report has found.
Life expectancy, employment and literacy rates all remain lower for indigenous Australians, according to the Closing The Gap report.
Indigenous Affairs Minister Ken Wyatt said the report showed there was still “a lot of work to do”.
The report tracks targets set in 2008 aimed at reducing inequality.
Three of seven key areas were met last year. Only two of the seven targets are rated as “on track” this year, in early childhood education and Year 12 attainment.
The goal of 95% of all indigenous 4-year-olds being enrolled in early education by 2025 is close to being reached.
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But targets are falling short in child mortality, school attendance, literacy and numeracy, employment and life expectancy.
Indigenous men die on average eight years younger than non-indigenous men, the report states.
Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islanders make up about 3% of the Australian population.
Writing in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald newspapers on Wednesday, Mr Wyatt said he was “heartened” by some of the progress made, but that the past 10 years “have not delivered the results they should have”.
Mr Wyatt, the first ever Aboriginal person to hold his position, said solving the other issues would involve “shared accountability and shared responsibility – between all governments and indigenous Australian communities and organisations”.
“Indigenous Australians are the key agents of change,” he said. “Governments need to draw on their insights, knowledge and lived experiences to deliver on Closing the Gap, for current and future generations.”
The focus in the future would be on education, he said and “a new way of working together to achieve our shared goal – working with experts, families, frontline service providers and communities”.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is expected to admit on Wednesday that the government has failed to meet ambitious aims, and to announce the need for a new approach.
“There remains much more to do and we will do it differently by working together,” he is expected to say, according to SBS News.
“By going from good intentions and sky-high aspirations, to local, practical action that’s driven by local leaders and local needs with clear accountability and responsibility and a clear line of sight to the community.”
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