• Closing the Gap: Six of seven targets 'not on track', life expectancy gap unchanged (NITV News)Source: NITV News
Before the nation heard where the state of Indigenous affairs is at, an impressive coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders handed the government their solution.
Luke Briscoe

14 Feb 2017 - 2:42 PM  UPDATED 14 Feb 2017 - 4:01 PM

Redfern Statement:

It's called the Redfern Statement, and it was launched last year during the election campaign to call for a more just treatment of Indigenous issues.

The 18-page manifesto puts forward their case for closing the gap, including: restoring the millions of dollars cut from Indigenous Affairs in the 2014 budget, separating the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander portfolio from the Prime Minister's department and implementing justice targets to address incarceration rates.

Australia’s prominent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders have today, demanded a new relationship with government as they deliver the historic Redfern Statement direct to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at Parliament House.

Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd also had a message for all the politicians running the country, saying "it's time to pull your finger out." 

The statement, which is backed by more than 30 major organisations, calls for improvements and changes across various sectors through structured engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It's aim is to better address the blatant disadvantage gap between Australia’s First Peoples and non-Indigenous Australians by working together for a better future.

In a statement, National Congress of Australia’s First People’s co-chair Mr Rod Little says it's time.

“After 25 years, eight Federal election cycles, seven Prime Ministers, eight Ministers for Indigenous Affairs, 400 recommendations, and countless policies, policy changes, reports, funding promises and funding cuts it’s time to draw a line in the sand," he said.

“We are seeking a new relationship, a genuine partnership and a commitment to ongoing structured engagement.”

“We need a new relationship that respects and harnesses our expertise, and guarantees us a seat at the table as equal partners when governments are making decisions about our lives.”

National Congress of Australia’s First People’s Co-chair, Dr Jackie Huggins said in a statement that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations are delivering. 

“Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations deliver 2.5 million episodes of care a year in their local communities – and are the only health and leadership models making inroads on Close the Gap targets."

Dr Huggins says we needs to take a holistic approach. 

“Today we are seeking a new relationship, a genuine partnership and a commitment to ongoing structured engagement.”

It comes after prominent Indigenous figures, like Dr Higgins, are fed up with the lack of results. 

"We come along every year and we hear the same old same old... in terms of how less we have improved... whilst there have been some positive changes as I said the negatives totally overpower this," she said.

Her comments were mirrored by National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation's, (NACCHO) CEO Pat Turner.

"We drew a line in the sand today, we've been coming here for nine long years to hear the same old, sad old story that our grandparents knew about."

 Just hours before the ninth Closing the Gap Report to Parliament, leaders called on the Prime Minister to support the historic Redfern Statement.

In Parliament today, Mr Little expressed a powerful message for everyone. 

“We have dreams and qualifications to do what we can for our people.” 

Almost all of the targets to close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage are not on track to be met.

The ninth annual Closing the Gap report shows insufficient progress in many of the key areas such as life expectancy, infant mortality and education.

It comes as Indigenous leaders urge the government to listen to their solutions.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has delivered a bleak outlook on closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

What is the Redfern Statement?
The Redfern Statement is an urgent call for a more just approach to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs.

The ninth annual Closing the Gap report shows slow progress, if any, has been made across much of the national key targets.

Mr Turnbull acknowledged government has a lot of work to do.

"Even with tens of thousands of dedicated Australians seeks to contribute and engage, we are still not making enough progress. We have come a long way since the referendum, but we have not come far enough," he said.

"My Government will not shy away from our responsibility. And we will uphold the priorities of education, employment, health and the right of all people to be safe from family violence."

Meanwhile Opposition leader Bill Shorten said he believes in a new approach.

"We must forget the insulting fiction that the First Australians are a problem to be solved. And instead, a new approach, to listen to people who stand on the other side of the gap."

With the continued failing Closing the Gap targets the Redfern Statement is a blue print that might enable the Government to stay on track with its commitment’s to Closing the Gap.

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