• Federal Labor leader Bill Shorten addresses delegates during the final day the 2015 ALP National Conference at the Melbourne Convention Centre in Melbourne (AAP)Source: AAP
The Australian Labor Party said at its national conference held between 25-26 July in Melbourne that it would reduce Indigenous disadvantage by introducing three new targets in the campaign to lessen inequality between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.
Myles Morgan

27 Jul 2015 - 5:08 PM  UPDATED 27 Jul 2015 - 6:26 PM

Labor Leader Bill Shorten said at the Australian Labor Party conference over the weekend that he would reduce the level of inequality experienced by Indigenous Australians by setting three new targets in the government's "Close the Gap" campaign.

The conference comes before the 2016 Federal elections.

The campaign to lessen inequality has seen mixed progress over recent years, reaching three out of its seven targets, according to its 2015 report.

Labor said it would commit to three more targets: reduce Indigenous incarceration rates, increase post-high school qualifications for Indigenous peoples and give them greater access to the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The chair of the National Congress for First Peoples Kirstie Parker has endorsed the move.

"We need help from all sides of the political fence," Ms Parker said. "But it is very encouraging to see that the ALP has thrown its support between the development of some targets in this areas."

Mr Shorten said another priority on his agenda was to ensure constitutional recognition of First Peoples.

"Alongside new words of recognition, let us bring new energy to building a better future for the first Australians" 

"Alongside new words of recognition, let us bring new energy to building a better future for the first Australians," he added.

He also said he wanted to enhance education opportunities, health, security and political representation.

"A brighter future of better schools, safer communities longer, healthier lives and greater representation as Labor candidates and Labor members of parliament,"

In September 2014, Prime Minister Tony Abbott called for a similar policy. "Whenever I'm asked about what we're trying to do in indigenous policy I say it's really quite simple; get the kids to school, get the adults to work and keep communities safe," Mr Abbott said.

Labor's Indigenous Affairs spokesman Shayen Neuman said the party had also decided to support justice reinvestment, which concentrates spending on community services over prisons.

"I think supporting services rather than sentencing is really the focus," said Mr Neumann. "It doesn't mean to say that people who commit egregious crimes should be prosecuted with the full force of the law. But we should have a focus on reintegration rather than recidivism."