The Closing the Gap 2016 report released by Malcolm Turnbull on Wednesday showed that there has been little progress in improving the life expectancy of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. However, it also showed that infant mortality rate amongst the indigenous children has been reduced.
“Today, again, we’re seeing mixed results,” the ABC quoted Turnbull as saying.
He added, “The life expectancy gap is still around 10 years, an unacceptably wide gap, and this target is not on track. In an address to Parliament, Mr Turnbull said he would engage with Indigenous Australians by encouraging “hope and optimism rather than entrenched despair. I will honour that commitment not by delivering to Indigenous Australians, but by working with a diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders and communities across Australia.”
The prime minister admitted that under successive governments the progress has been mixed and a great deal remains to be achieved. He assured that the government would enhance its efforts further in engaging with the aboriginals.
The eighth annual Closing the Gap report suggested that the results across the seven targets of health, education and employment have been diverse. Meeting the goal of closing the life expectancy gap by 2030 could be a challenge for the government, warned the report.
However, Turnbull said that the report also gave reasons to be optimistic. It showed reducing the gap of child mortality rate to half by 2018 is achievable as well as the target to improve Year 12 attainment by 2020.
“While the results against the targets are mixed, there have been significant gains over recent times, and we can be hopeful for the future,” he said. “We should not overlook or fail to celebrate the many successes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”
The Guardian reported that, the aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids have showed a trend of greater truancy and have lower literacy and numeracy rates.