Independent News For The Australian Public Service
Edition Number 411. Updated Tuesday, 27 May 2014

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Gap fails to close on Indigenous jobs

A report into closing the gap between Indigenous Australians and other communities has found gains in primary education, Year 12 attainment and post-school qualifications, but not in gaining employment.

Chairman of the COAG Reform Council, John Brumby said Governments had made some promising gains in education but not in employment.

"It is great to see Indigenous students' reading scores lifting across all year levels, a jump in Year 12 or equivalent attainment, and more Indigenous people achieving post-school qualifications," Mr Brumby said.

New report shows education gains

"What's concerning though is that these education gains aren't improving employment - we found that since 2008, employment outcomes for Indigenous Australians did not improve in any State or Territory."

Mr Brumby said COAG's target was to halve the gap in employment outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians by 2018 but over the past five years this gap had widened.

He said the report showed falls in school attendance were larger and more widespread than improvements, and high school numeracy results worsened.

Mr Brumby said in the health findings, the report showed that faster progress was needed to meet COAG's target to close the life expectancy gap by 2031.

He said obesity was highlighted as an area of concern, with more than 41 per cent of Indigenous people obese, compared to 27 per cent of non-Indigenous Australians.

Mr Brumby said while there was good news in declining smoking rates, Indigenous Australians were still more than twice as likely to smoke as non-Indigenous Australians.

"A clear positive is that COAG is on target to halve the gap in child deaths by 2018. This is a resounding achievement," he said.

Mr Brumby said the report's results emphasised an ongoing need for COAG to strengthen its performance reporting and accountability framework for Indigenous reform.

Indigenous Reform 2012-13: Five years of performance can be accessed at this PS News link.

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