Northern Territory Senator Malarndirri McCarthy is calling on the government to revise policies entrenching Indigenous people in poverty.
"It's the 12th anniversary of the Close the Gap Report and I certainly understand from all reports that we're not doing well and I think that there is greater work to be done," she said.
The annual Closing the Gap report was tabled in Parliament today by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who agreed there remains much more to do.
"We will do it differently by working together," he said.
Only two of the seven targets are rated as "on track" in the report, and only one target - halving the gap in terms of Year 12 attainment - is on track in the Northern Territory.
The report shows Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander people still have a lower life expectancy than non-Indigenous people, and the Northern Territory continues to have the highest Indigenous child mortality rate at 305 per 100,000.
The target to have 95 per cent of Indigenous four-year-olds enrolled in early childhood education by 2025 is on track for all jurisdictions except the Northern Territory.
School attendance rates for Indigenous students have not improved over the past five years.
And while attendance rates for Indigenous students declined to some extent in all states and territories over the past five years, school attendance fell by around 7 percent in the Northern Territory, five points more than Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania.
The majority of Indigenous students attended school for an average of just over 4 days a week, but those attendance rates dropped to two days in the Territory.
The target to halve the gap in employment outcomes was also not met.
"When we look at policies like the Community Development Program policy, the cashless debit card, which entrenches First Nations people in poverty in this country, then of course we're not going to see the outcomes that we want to see in health, in education, in housing, in life expectancy," Ms McCarthy said.
"It's been five years since Tony Abbott got rid of $500 million to the Aboriginal Affairs budget in this country, and we have seen year after year, a breaking down even further into poverty, into disadvantage for First Nations people."
Law Council President, Pauline Wright, said the report showing disparities in health, education, employment outcomes "was the legacy of many years of ignoring and silencing the views of First Nation peoples".
"The lack of a voice continues to manifest itself through the outcomes we see in this report and through Indigenous incarceration rates which are a national shame," Ms Wright said.
"Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders need to have a say in the decisions that affect their lives and be able to propose bills and be consulted on bills before Parliament. This is why we will continue to advocate for the Uluru Statement from the Heart."
Ms Wright acknowledged the commitment of Minister of Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt to consult and listen to Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander people.
There’s NOTHING genuine about your engagement with us thus far. Muzzling advisors and disingenuously altering the call for a Voice to parliament to a voice to Government will fail.— Thomas Mayor (@tommayor11) February 11, 2020
The key to #closethegap is to establish a constitutionally enshrined Voice & Makarrata Commission. https://t.co/oU4LsZwabu
"It is essential we have an open and wide-ranging consultation process that addresses all options, especially a key recommendation of the Uluru Statement: constitutional recognition. The principle of self-determination requires meaningful Indigenous participation in decision making," she said.
"The Uluru Statement was one of the most comprehensive consultations ever conducted with Indigenous Australians. We should be respecting that process and the many leaders and community members who took part in those consultations."
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