The 2020 Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage (OID) report shows mixed outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Four years on from the previous Report there continues to be improvement in many areas of early child development, economic participation and some aspects of health and education.
But areas such as justice and mental health remain concerning, with increases in the rates of imprisonment, suicide and self-harm.
If change is to occur these outcomes need to be understood in context; recognising the strengths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that contribute to their wellbeing, as well as the structural and systemic barriers that can undermine or erode their wellbeing.
“Poorer outcomes are not due to people being Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, but can be attributed to the additional personal challenges and structural barriers faced by many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” Chair Michael Brennan said.
Policies and programs may appear neutral on the surface, but can operate in an uneven or unfair manner that is detrimental to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“Removing these structural barriers is critical if the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is to improve,” Mr Brennan said.
Shared decision-making — the focus of the case studies in this Report — is a common element in approaches that appear successful in improving outcomes.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s participation in decisions on policy, program and service design and delivery is important to drive real change on the ground,” said Commissioner Romlie Mokak.
With the National Agreement on Closing the Gap in place, the Report can assist those in policy and program design and delivery and should be compulsory reading for anyone interested in the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
It is the most comprehensive report on the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people produced in Australia.
The Report is produced by the Productivity Commission for the Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision, and is the eighth in the series.
The 2020 OID report, overview and short video can be found at: www.pc.gov.au/oid2020