Missed tar­gets in clos­ing the gap

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

FAR North­ern indige­nous com­mu­nity ad­vo­cates are not sur­prised the lat­est Clos­ing the Gap re­port shows tar­gets are not be­ing met.

The an­nual re­port shows progress is only be­ing made in the drive to in­crease the num­ber of indige­nous stu­dents com­plet­ing Year 12.

But Ngoonbi Co-Op­er­a­tive So­ci­ety chief ex­ec­u­tive Lionel Quar­ter­maine said he doubted whether that was hav­ing any im­pact on re­duc­ing indige­nous dis­ad­van­tage.

“The Ed­u­ca­tion De­part­ments can say they have more indige­nous stu­dents stay­ing at school but are they trans­fer­ring that into real ed­u­ca­tion?

The re­port found tar­gets were not on track to in­crease indige­nous lit­er­acy and nu­mer­acy, gen­eral school attendance, life ex­pectancy, em­ploy­ment or to re­duce child mor­tal­ity.

Wu­chop­peren Health Ser­vice act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive Lau­rel McCarthy said, while her or­gan­i­sa­tion was mak­ing progress with an­te­na­tal and postnatal health lo­cally, her staff couldn’t “close the gap” on their own.

“One of the key ob­sta­cles ... is the con­tin­ued state of Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der dis­ad­van­tage in terms of the so­cial de­ter­mi­nants of health such as em­ploy­ment, hous­ing, ed­u­ca­tion and ex­po­sure to racism and dis­crim­i­na­tion.”

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