Standing at the Oxfam Close the Gap Day event in Sydney on Thursday, Dr Mick Gooda didn't mince words.
"It's a disaster out there," the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner said.
“I've said in the past that I've used every adjective I can to come up with.
"I can't understand [Indigenous Affairs] Minister [Nigel] Scullion saying we don't need a justice target. What other way do we focus the attention on this?"
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are 15 times more likely to be incarcerated than other Australians, according to the Law Council of Australia citing ABS data.
"I've been bashing my head against this wall with this the last seven to eight years," Dr Gooda said.
"I continue to do that because the only way we are going to make a difference, real difference here, is when the government decides to engage with us, because we have the answers in our communities."
The Close the Gap campaign was launched in 2006 to raise awareness of the gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians in life expectancy, health and education.