Close the Gap: Indigenous report card to be handed down

File photo Source: AAP

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will hand down the annual report card to parliament on efforts to improve the plight of Indigenous Australians on Tuesday.

Two former prime ministers have weighed in with advice for Malcolm Turnbull, on the eve of the annual report card to parliament on efforts to improve the plight of indigenous Australians.

Mr Turnbull will on Tuesday hand down Close the Gap report, which shows progress in key areas such as health, education and employment.

It is expected to show some good news in declining infant mortality rates, reduced rates of smoking, better life expectancy and fewer deaths from chronic diseases.

On the education front it's also expected to show improving literacy and numeracy skills in Indigenous children.


Former prime minister Kevin Rudd has warned of the potential for a second Stolen Generation as the numbers of Indigenous children in out-of-home care continue to increase.

Monday marked nine years since Mr Rudd's national apology to the Stolen Generation.

In 2006, 6497 Aboriginal children were in out-of-home care nationally. By mid-2015 the number had grown to 15,432.

Mr Rudd believes there's scope to add a new Close the Gap target to ensure children are placed with other relatives or in their communities.

"We do not want another generation of young Aboriginal children unnecessarily separated from their culture," Mr Rudd said in a speech at Australian National University.

"We do not want to see the emergence of a second Stolen Generation, not by design, but by default."

Some kids were churning through foster families at a rate of knots and that was not good for their sense of stability, he said.

Mr Rudd called on Mr Turnbull to put Indigenous affairs at the top of his agenda.

"The key thing is to ensure you've still got effective national political leadership from a prime minister who cares about it, cares about it enough to knock together the heads of the states, where a lot of the policy action lies," he said.

Meanwhile former prime minister Tony Abbott expressed disappointment Mr Turnbull has not continued his tradition of spending a week in remote Indigenous communities.

As prime minister, Mr Abbott took senior ministers and officials on a trip to the Torres Strait and the northern tip of Queensland in 2015 and Nhulunbuy in the Northern Territory the year before.

He said it was more than just a photo opportunity, it was about increasing people's understanding about the issues on the ground in order to get better policy development.

"I think it is a little disappointing there is no annual governmental pilgrimage to remote Aboriginal Australia anymore," Mr Abbott told ABC radio on Monday night.

Mr Abbott said the focus for the government should be school attendance, jobs and safe communities.

"These are the big tests. They're the big tests that we're failing," Mr Abbott said.

Close the Gap targets:

* To close the life expectancy gap within a generation.

* To halve the gap in child mortality by 2018.

* To ensure access to early childhood education for all Indigenous four year olds in remote communities by 2025.

* To halve the gap in reading, writing and numeracy achievements for children by 2018.

* To halve the gap for Indigenous students in year 12 attainment rates by 2020.

* To close the gap in school attendance by the end of 2018.

* To halve the gap in employment outcomes by 2018.

Source AAP

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