State governments share blame for (Not) Closing The Gap

Socialist Alliance NSW media release

"The NSW and other state governments are also to blame for the latest shameful and outrageous results of the Closing The Gap Report tabled by PM Tony Abbott in federal parliament today," said Sharlene Leroy-Dyer the lead Socialist Alliance candidate for the Legislative Council in the upcoming March 28 NSW elections.

"The Abbott government's cruel $550-million-cut to funding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander funding in its last failed budget is certainly culpable but the cuts go deeper with state government cuts to Aboriginal community services.

"Impending state government plans to cut essential services to remote Aboriginal communities will, on the contrary, widen the gap.

"This is one of the richest countries in the world and yet many of my people, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of this land, live in worse than Third World conditions with an average life expectancy gap of more than 10 years.

"Liberal-National and Labor governments alike have chronically failed to deliver real land rights and the urgently needed strong measures to redress more than two centuries of violent racism and dispossession.

"The latest Closing The Gap Report is a huge fail as it shows little progress in closing the shameful gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Australia on health, literacy and education and Aboriginal unemployment and underemployment has steadily got worse since 2008. Yet the few programs to create jobs for Aboriginal people have been cut back.

"The gross over-representation of adult Aboriginal people in prisons has increased 57% since 2000 and juvenile Aboriginal detention rates are now 24 times that of non-Aboriginal youth.

"This can only lead to more Aboriginal deaths in custody," Ms Leroy-Dyer added.

The Socialist Alliance believes that these unacceptable gaps can be closed if state and federal governments had the will to put the needs of people before corporate profits.

"We need a real Closing the Gap Campaign, not the one we have which aims only to halve the gap within a decade and is not even making progress towards this inadequate target.

"Token constitutional recognition and political posturing about penalising Aboriginal families if their children miss school won't close the gap."

Click here for bio for Sharlene Leroy-Dyer.

Click here for Socialist Alliance Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Rights policy.