Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Indigenous women have their say at Summit

Indigenous women from across the country travelled to Parliament House in Canberra today to share their views on the issues facing their communities at the Gillard Government funded Oxfam Straight Talk Summit.

The Government has invested $100,000 to help deliver this year’s Straight Talk Summit building on the $4.3 million Indigenous Women’s Program that develops the leadership capacity of Indigenous women.

Women have an important leadership role in Indigenous communities and this summit provides an important opportunity to discuss the challenges facing Indigenous communities and examine how we can work together to bring about change.

We recognise the importance of working together with strong Indigenous leaders at both national and local levels to close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage.

The Australian Government has set clear Closing the Gap targets in the areas of health, education, housing and employment which commit all governments to achieving that goal.

This, together with our unprecedented investment, is beginning to make a difference. The Australian Government recognises that this work will take time and continued effort.

We are building on our work to close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage with a new Closing the Gap target to ensure Indigenous children are attending preschool or kindergarten.

The new target will drive efforts to ensure 90 per cent of enrolled Indigenous children across Australia attend a quality early childhood education program in the year before they start full-time school.

Our first Closing the Gap target – giving all Indigenous four-year-old children in remote communities’ access to early childhood education – will be met this year.

Achieving this target is an important step in closing the gap in educational outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

We have a lot of work ahead of us to close the gap, but our unprecedented investments are beginning to make a difference.