Closing the Gap Refresh: papering over the gaps or structural reform?

Detail from Gulach (2006) by Terry Ngamandara Wilson
Author/editor: Compiled by Markham, F, Jordan, K & Howard-Wagner, D
Year published: 2018
Volume no.: 2

Abstract

Ten years on from the Council of Australian Governments committing to National Indigenous Reform Agreement – Closing the Gap, the Federal Government has announced the Closing the Gap Refresh. Five academics and visitors at the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research made submissions as part of the Closing the Gap Refresh ‘Have Your Say’ process, engaging with the Closing the Gap Refresh from specialist disciplinary perspectives and with their grounded expertise. The views of these individuals have been consolidated into a single document to ensure their longer-term availability.

Together, the submissions in this CAEPR Topical Issue paper argue that the failure of gaps to close is a reflection of a failed policy-making process. All five papers indicate the need for substantial change and structural reform, and express concern at the risk that the current ‘refresh’ will simply ‘paper over the gaps’. They identify a need for governments to do policy differently, and suggest avenues toward a reform of the policy-making process in Indigenous Affairs.

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