Closing the Gap and Reconciliation

Labor is committed to the Uluru Statement in full, this includes a First Nations voice to the parliament enshrined in the constitution, as well as a national process for Treaty-making and Truth-telling; strengthen economic and job opportunities for First Nations people; and empower First Nations people in caring for land and water.

On 5 August 2021, the Prime Minister delivered the latest Closing the Gap update. Sadly, and unsurprisingly, the data shows that the disparity and disadvantage persists.

For eight long years, the Government has shunted its responsibility for progress on Closing the Gap to states and territories; on future parliaments and future generations.

The Prime Minister promises a new approach, but the question is, is this new money, or is this another shiny new announcement from existing funds. This is Government that always misses the mark when it comes to delivery.

Listening to and empowering First Nations people will be at the very core of Labor’s approach to Closing the Gap and Reconciliation.


A First Nations voice to parliament

In May 2017, First Nations leaders and representatives gathered at Uluru to deliver the Uluru Statement from the Heart: the reasonable and generous ask from First Australians for a constitutionally enshrined First Nations voice to the parliament; and national processes for Treaty or agreement making, and Truth-Telling.

Labor is committed to the self determination of First Nations people. A voice to the parliament will empower First Nations Australians to have a greater say in the decisions, laws and policies that affect them.

Enshrining it in the constitution will ensure that it can provide frank and candid advice to our nation’s lawmakers, safe and secure from the whims of the government of the day.

If we want to see real and lasting progress in closing the gap and reconciliation, we need to place First Nations people at the centre of decision making on the issues that affect them


Delivering Treaty & Truth: fulfilling the promise of Uluru

If we want to understand the challenges of the present, we must understand their roots in past trauma. There can be no real progress on Closing the Gap and there can be no Reconciliation without Treaty and Truth-Telling. 

The Uluru Statement called for a national process of Treaty and Truth-Telling overseen by a Makarrata Commission, along with a constitutionally enshrined voice to the parliament.

Labor is committed to the Uluru Statement in full. Labor is committing to establish a Makarrata Commission as a matter of priority. 

The Commission’s oversight of Truth-Telling would include inquiring into matters of national significance, from colonisation to present day, as well as supporting local Truth-Telling projects with local government and community organisations. 

The Commission’s oversight of Treaty would include developing a framework for federal treaty-making, taking into account existing state and territory processes. 

A clear and accurate telling of Australia’s story is essential for us to reach our full potential as a nation.

It will help us better understand and explain the causes of inequality and injustice, and let us work together to fix them in the future. 


Strengthening First Nations economic and job opportunities

The disparity in First Nations employment outcomes is interconnected to other quality of life outcomes such as health, education and housing. Address economic inequality, and we can truly begin to address structural disadvantage more broadly.

This is why an Albanese Labor Government will strengthen economic and job opportunities for First Nations people and communities.  

Labor will lead by example and commit to a target of increasing First Nations employment in the Australian Public Service from 3.4 per cent currently to five per cent by 2030. 

Labor will build on the good work of Australia’s largest employers and support them in bolstering their First Nations workforces, including through the introduction of public reporting for Australia’s 200 largest employers. 

Labor will support and protect First Nations jobs and businesses that rely on First Nations art, culture and intellectual property, including getting on with a Productivity Commission inquiry into the value and structure of the current market for First Nations arts and crafts. 

Labor will support inclusive growth for Indigenous-owned businesses in both domestic and international trade.

And Labor is committed to scrapping the Community Development Program and developing a new remote jobs program in partnership with First Nations people and communities. 


Empowering First Nations people & caring for our land and waters 

First Nations peoples have authority, knowledge and experience derived from many millennia of custodianship over land and water. 

Labor will double the number of Indigenous Rangers – who play a vital role in the restoration and preservation of land and water – to 3,800 jobs by the end of the decade. 

Labor will boost funding for management of Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs), providing $10 million each year. 

And Labor will deliver the $40 million of cultural water promised in 2018 but not yet delivered by the Morrison Government.