Scathing Closing the Gap Review shows it’s time to get serious about handing money and decisions over to First Nations people


Following the review of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap, the Greens support the Review’s calls for urgent fundamental changes in the way government departments engage with the priority reforms.

The Greens also reiterated their expectation that the government will advance Truth and Treaty through a Makarrata Commission in this term of government.

Comment attributable to Senator Dorinda Cox, Greens First Nations portfolio holder:

“This review is excruciating reading but it is also a brave and necessary act of Truth Telling.

“What this review confirms is we are closing no gaps. It says government departments scorn accountability. It says actions by the government, and I’m quoting here, “exacerbate rather than remedy disadvantage and discrimination”.

“I am appalled by the reported lack of accountability from government departments. The complacency. The business as usual, government-knows-best approach to First Nations communities.

“This is the definition of institutional racism. This is the arrogance of white bureaucrats, systems and managers reinforcing the disempowerment of our people.

“These attitudes keep First Nations people out of schools, out of hospitals, out of workplaces.

“These attitudes empower state violence against our people and ensure we do not get justice.

“Many First Nations people trusted the Albanese government last year when they said they wanted to put us in charge of our own solutions.

“That trust cannot be broken. It’s time for the government to put their money where their mouth is, and that means handing both money and decision-making power over to Aboriginal Controlled Community Organisations.

“This is everyone’s business. It’s not just up to people with the Blak portfolios to solve these problems - we need every Minister and every Head of Department to understand it is their job to Close the Gap. And we need them to know there will be consequences if they don’t.

“Business-as-usual has failed, and it’s clear from these results that the government does not know what’s best for our people.

“Now is the time for Truth and Treaty.

“The referendum campaign clearly demonstrated the need to have an honest and informed discussion about our shared history so we can speak the truth, heal and move forward together through Treaty and the affirmation of First Nations Sovereignty – which has never been ceded.

“We have an opportunity to do things differently in this country by starting that process now."