Closing the Gap Annual Data Compilation Report July 2023
This is the third Annual Data Compilation Report to inform reporting on progress under the National Agreement on Closing the Gap. It was released on 12 July 2023.
Closing the Gap annual update reveals mixed progress and significant data gaps
The Productivity Commission today released the third Annual Data Compilation Report, which provides a point-in-time snapshot of progress against the targets and indicators in the National Agreement on Closing the Gap. This report monitors progress using the available data on these targets and indicators, and is distinct from the Commission’s upcoming three-yearly review of overall progress under the Agreement.
The Report shows only four of the 19 targets are on track to be met: preschool enrolment, youth detention, employment and land subject to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s legal rights or interests.
Progress has been made towards a further seven targets, but not at the level required for the targets to be met on schedule.
“It is encouraging to see some progress in areas such as education and training and that overcrowding in housing has been reduced,“ said Commissioner Romlie Mokak. “But progress needs to accelerate if the targets are to be met in these areas.”
Outcomes in four target areas are going backwards. Fewer children are developmentally on track when starting school, and the rates of children in out-of-home care, adults in prison and people dying by suicide have all increased.
While targets are set nationally, some states and territories are clearly falling behind on the target outcomes more than others.
“The worsening of outcomes in the NT, and in out-of-home care rates in Victoria and SA is particularly concerning” said Commissioner Natalie Siegel-Brown. “And where states and territories are making progress toward better outcomes, without clear jurisdictional targets we cannot know whether this progress is enough.”
Furthermore, significant data gaps remain where progress cannot be assessed.
“We need data on the Priority Reforms to see if governments are changing the way they work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to improve outcomes,” said Romlie Mokak.
“And we also need data to assess progress toward improved outcomes for family violence, community infrastructure, languages and digital inclusion.”
The Annual Data Compilation Report is available on the Productivity Commission website at www.pc.gov.au/closing-the-gap-data/annual-data-report
Simon Kinsmore – 02 6240 3330 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Catherine Andersson, Assistant Commissioner – 03 9653 2354 / email@example.com
The National Agreement on Closing the Gap (the Agreement) developed in partnership between Australian governments and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak organisations, commits governments to greater efforts to overcome the entrenched inequality faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, than its predecessor.
The Agreement names reforms that government must prioritise in a more explicit drive towards self-determination, including that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people now share in the decisions made to close the gap, and that all Australian governments transform their mainstream organisations to improve accountability and respond to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The Agreement also focuses on the outcomes experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to see if the gap is closing.
The Productivity Commission (the Commission) is pleased to play a role in supporting public accountability under the Agreement, and to provide this third Annual Data Compilation Report to monitor progress. This report monitors progress using data on the agreed target outcomes and supporting indicators, and is distinct from the Commission’s three-yearly reviews of progress that will also consider the specific actions proposed to improve these outcomes, and whether these actions are adequate.
The Commission would like to acknowledge the ongoing valuable contribution to our work for this report by the Partnership Working Group that supports the Joint Council on Closing the Gap. As we continue this journey we intend to build on our existing relationships and engagement processes with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, communities and governments.