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Latest Closing the Gap data shows dire need for First Nations-led systems change, advocates say

Giovanni Torre -

New Closing the Gap data showing key gaps are getting worse once again demonstrates the need for First Nations-led solutions, advocates say.

The figures released Wednesday night show rates of Indigenous suicide, adult incarceration and children in out-of-home care getting worse.

Chair of advocacy group Children's Ground, William Tilmouth, said the
data "highlights the serious failures of successive governments to address the needs of First Nations children and families".

"Children's Ground is implementing a model of First Nations-led systems change. Evidence demonstrates that this model works," the 2023 NAIDOC Male Elder of the Year said.

"With strategic financial and governance support, we can realise full implementation of this model and achieve systemic, positive change for First Nations children, their families and their communities.

"We know the government is committed to a new model of partnership that places our communities in the front seat. We have invited government to partner with us directly, to change the status quo and deliver transformational change for First Nations people."  

Children's Ground aims for First Nations people across Australia have self-determination and enjoy social, cultural, political and economic justice; for "our next generation of children know and celebrate their culture and identity, have freedom of choice and expression and can live with opportunity, peace, harmony and wellbeing, and for all Australians to recognise our shared history and celebrate First Nations culture and strength".

The organisation says the key to this mission is "recognising children, families, our Elders and our culture" and "listening to the way we as First Nations people want to lead and then following that path; upholding First Nations law and culture and the central place of land, kinship, responsibilities and knowledge from Apmerengetyele (from the land)".

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