Monday, 24 November 2014
M e d i a R e l e a s e
Wednesday 19 November 2014
Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision
OVERCOMING INDIGENOUS DISADVANTAGE 2014
The 2014 Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage (OID) report released today shows some positive trends in the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, with improvements in health, education
and economic outcomes. However, results in areas such as justice and mental health continue to cause concern.
The report shows that, nationally, for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians:
• economic outcomes have improved over the longer term, with higher incomes, lower reliance on income support, increased home ownership, and higher rates of full time and professional employment.
However, improvements have slowed in recent years
• several health outcomes have improved, including increased life expectancy and lower child mortality.
However, rates of disability and chronic disease remain high, mental health outcomes have not improved, and hospitalisation rates for self-harm have increased
• post-secondary education outcomes have improved, but there has been virtually no change in literacy and numeracy results at school, which are particularly poor in remote areas
• justice outcomes continue to decline, with adult imprisonment rates worsening and no change in high rates of juvenile detention and family and community violence.
“It has been almost three years since the last OID report. For this report we made a concerted effort to increase the involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Their input contributed to significant developments, including broadening the focus from overcoming disadvantage to improving wellbeing, and the inclusion of new indicators, such as Indigenous language revitalisation and maintenance, valuing Indigenous cultures (including experiences of racism and discrimination) and participation in decision making” said Peter Harris, chairman of the Productivity Commission and of the Steering Committee.
The OID report is the most comprehensive report on Indigenous wellbeing produced in Australia. It contains accessible data for an extensive range of wellbeing measures as well as case studies of programs that have led to improved outcomes. “This report should be compulsory reading for anyone interested in outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians or working in service delivery or program design,” said Commissioner Patricia Scott, who convenes the expert working group that advises on the report.
The report is a product of the Review of Government Service Provision. It is overseen by a Steering Committee comprising senior officials from the Australian, State and Territory governments, and supported by a secretariat from the Productivity Commission. This report is the sixth in the series, which traces its origins to the final report of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation in 2000.
The full report can be found here.
On the same day the Productivity Commission report was released the Abbott Government walked away from another one of its 2013 election promises, according to The Australian, 20 November 2014:
THE national peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services NATSILS is angry at the Abbott government for “back flipping” on a pledge to consider introducing justice targets as part of the Closing the Gap policy agenda, a move which NATSILS along with many other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders and organisations have long called for.
It comes after this week’s Productivity Commission Overcoming indigenous Disadvantage report revealed a shocking increase of nearly 60 per cent in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander incarceration rates over the last decade.
NATSILS Chairperson, Shane Duffy, said that confirmation from the Minister for indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, during question time in the Senate on Wednesday that the government would not be progressing with introducing a justice target, despite publicly supporting such in the lead up to the 2013 election, was a troubling development…..
Mr Duffy said that the development of Closing the Gap justice targets was not just about throwing more money at the issue, as the Minister had described it, but was rather about getting the policy settings right to affect real change and to make sure resources in the justice space are used most effectively.
“The high cost of incarceration combined with the fact that prisons actually offer little in terms of effective rehabilitation, means that addressing incarceration rates should be an economic priority for the Government and its budget bottom line,” Mr Duffy said.
“It is costing Australian taxpayers more than $795 million per annum just to maintain the current level of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander over-imprisonment, so to reiterate the sentiments of the Minister in recent days, we shouldn’t just keep throwing money down the drain.”