Clos­ing the Gap ad­vis­ers get more time to con­sult

The Weekend Australian - - THE NATION - STEPHEN FITZ­PATRICK

A planned re­boot of the Clos­ing the Gap pro­gram will be pushed back to late Oc­to­ber af­ter states, ter­ri­to­ries and indige­nous ad­vis­ers com­plained a planned June timetable was too rushed.

Af­ter indige­nous rep­re­sen­ta­tives met for two days in Canberra this week, Malcolm Turn­bull yes­ter­day cited the ad­vice of ed­u­ca­tion­al­ist Chris Sarra to do things “with — not to” Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der Aus­tralians.

The Prime Min­is­ter has pushed for the Clos­ing the Gap scheme to re­vise its fo­cus af­ter only one of its seven out­comes — Year 12 or equiv­a­lent at­tain­ment — was on track to be met.

He will de­liver the 10th an­nual Clos­ing the Gap re­port to par­lia­ment on Mon­day, with re­sults ex­pected to be no bet­ter than last year’s.

Five indige­nous af­fairs min­is­ters wrote to Mr Turn­bull in Oc­to­ber warn­ing that his “re­fresh” drive did not al­low enough con­sul­ta­tion time and ask­ing that the dead­line be pushed back to the end of the year. The Oc­to­ber date is a com­pro­mise.

Con­sul­ta­tions on pos­si­ble changes will be held in com­ing weeks.

The min­is­ters also in­sisted the con­sul­ta­tions form the main ba­sis for any changes, rather than these be­ing the re­sult of “pre­de­ter­mined out­comes”.

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