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SNAICC supports Productivity Commission's Closing the Gap findings

Dechlan Brennan -

The Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC) says they support the "blunt" findings and recommendations of the Productivity Commission's report, which found governments across Australia have largely not fulfilled their commitments under the National Agreement on Closing the Gap.

SNAICC said they agreed with the recommendations to drive progress and improve life outcomes under the agreement, with the report arguing governments nationwide needed to move away from a 'business-as-usual' mindset and embrace power-sharing arrangements.

SNAICC chief executive and Arnette/Luritja woman, Catherine Liddle said the Productivity Commission's report pulled no punches, which found governments "failed to fully grasp the nature and scale of change".

"This is not just about resourcing, though adequate funding is vital to making sure changes are driven and they hit the ground to have real, positive impact on lives and in communities," Ms. Liddle said.

"There must also be a commitment on behalf of all governments to substantially shift the way they operate, think about and interact with Aboriginal community-controlled organisations (ACCOs)."

Ms Liddle said SNAICC - as a founding member of the Coalition of Peaks - entered the National Agreement in 2020 "in good faith" and said there was a hope government changes would drive transformational change for Indigenous people.

She argued that, despite the best efforts of SNAICC and other ACCOs, this had yet to happen.

"It's past time all Governments got serious about changing the way they work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and organisations," Ms Liddle said.

"The Productivity Commission was blunt in its assessment that without fundamental change the Agreement will fail. Australia cannot afford to keep failing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children."

The SNAICC chief executive thanked the Productivity Commission, especially commissioners Natalie Siegel-Brown and Djugun man Romlie Mokak.

"The Commissioners have championed our calls for real change in the way all governments do business with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and organisations, and we would like to particularly thank outgoing Commissioner Romlie Mokak for his efforts," Ms Liddle said.

"Their report makes it clear that governments and their decision-makers do not know best when it comes to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We know what works best for us."

SNAICC said they were looking forward to further discussion on the recommendations from the commission that the National Agreement needed to be amended in order to better drive change and achieve beneficial outcomes.

"We are looking forward to the Prime Minister's statement next week on the anniversary of the National Apology," Ms Liddle said.

"SNAICC urges the PM to be bold and create a path for real change to address the entrenched disadvantage that exists for our children and families."


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