Malcolm Turnbull has used the release of the annual Closing the Gap report to meet with the newest members of his indigenous advisory council.


The prime minister wanted to hear what they had to say about the state of indigenous disadvantage and what needs to be done to achieve targets that address the gap between them and non-indigenous Australians.

Indigenous leaders on Tuesday delivered Mr Turnbull a blueprint aimed at resetting government relations and stemming disadvantage among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people.

The Redfern Statement – backed by more than 30 organisations – calls for dozens of changes across health, justice, disability, education and family violence based on genuine engagement with indigenous communities.

It urges the reversal of federal budget cuts, targets to reduce incarceration rates and family violence, and the establishment a stand alone department for indigenous affairs.

Mr Turnbull said he was saddened and disappointed by findings in the ninth annual Closing the Gap report into indigenous health, education and employment outcomes.

The target to improve life expectancy by 2031 is not on track to be met; nor is a target to halve the gap in child mortality by 2018, despite improving in the longer term.

None of the targets around early education enrolments, school attendance or unemployment are on track.

Just one of the seven Closing the Gap targets, halving the gap in Year 12 attainment by 2020, is on track.

The prime minister has committed to an indigenous commissioner in the Productivity Commission and pledged $50 million to assess and research indigenous programs and policies.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said closing the disadvantage gap demanded a new approach in which indigenous people must have first say in the decisions that shaped their lives.


Credit: AAP