The objective of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap (the National Agreement) is to enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and governments to work together to overcome the inequality experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and achieve life outcomes equal to all Australians.
The Productivity Commission released the second Annual Data Compilation Report yesterday. It provides a point-in-time snapshot of data for monitoring progress under the National Agreement on Closing the Gap, signed in July 2020.
Still early days
Commissioner Romlie Mokak said it is still early days, but monitoring under this Agreement will look to show whether the actions committed to, have occurred, and if the life outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have improved.
The actions focus on governments working differently with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to embed shared decision-making, build the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled sector, transform mainstream government organisations and improve data sharing with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
‘While progress has been made toward developing the data we need to see if these actions are happening, we don’t yet have the data,’ said Mr Mokak. ’Developing these data remains an important priority.’
New information available
However, new information on the life outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are now available. These data relate to the socioeconomic outcome areas in the Agreement and were released via the Closing the Gap Dashboard in March and June 2022. A summary assessment of these data is included in this Report.
Chair of the Productivity Commission, Michael Brennan, said this new information provides some emerging stories. ‘But it is still too early to say if lives are improving under the Agreement, as the most recent available data are for 2021 which is only one year after the Agreement commenced.
‘While it may be some years before we know for sure whether this most recent Agreement is working to improve people’s lives, progress will become clearer with each year of reporting.
The Annual Data Compilation Report is available on the Productivity Commission website at pc.gov.au/closing-the-gap-data/annual-data-report.