FECCA congratulates the Coalition of Peaks and the Federal Government on the historic National Agreement on Closing the Gap made public today, calling it a lesson in effective collaboration and how to consult with communities about issues that concern them.
With the National Agreement, for the first time Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will share decision-making with governments on vitally important Closing the Gap measures that will commit Australia to improving health outcomes, education, language preservation, employment and training, and housing and land rights for Indigenous people over ten years.
The agreement also aims to reduce Indigenous imprisonment rates, suicides, child removals, and violence against women and children.
All state and territory governments have signed up to the 16 targets, resetting the 2008 goals that have been largely unmet.
“This is a historic moment and key to the chances of success for Closing the Gap is that Indigenous organisations will be directly involved in negotiating and implementing the new agreement. That will prove to be a powerful difference this time,” FECCA Chair Mary Patetsos said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt and lead convenor of the Coalition of Peaks Pat Turner unveiled the National Agreement today, which promises to tackle Indigenous disadvantage through partnership, new accountability mechanisms, and a commitment to address structural racism within government organisations.
“We look forward to working with and learning from the Coalition of Peaks on issues of mutual concern, such as racism, discrimination, health and social inequalities, and access to services,” Ms Patetsos said.
FECCA urges multicultural organisations to engage with their local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and work towards reconciliation. The organisation has developed a draft ‘Encouraging Engagement’ guide, which is designed to support collaboration.
FECCA is the national peak body representing Australians from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Our role is to advocate and promote issues on behalf of our constituency to government, business and the broader community.