Meeting of the Joint Council on Closing the Gap

On 17 November 2020, The Joint Council on Closing the Gap convened for the first time since the historic National Agreement on Closing the Gap came into effect on 27 July 2020.

The Joint Council considered the responsibilities for the implementation of the National Agreement and heard updates from each jurisdiction about the establishment and strengthening of partnership arrangements between individual governments, the Coalition of Peaks and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander partners.

The Joint Council agreed to develop an online, public tracker of the commitments in the National Agreement and that Jurisdictional Implementation Plans will be developed in a consistent format to ensure that all Australians can monitor implementation across the country.

The Joint Council agreed to a Strategic Plan for Funding the Development of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community-Controlled Sector.

The Strategic Plan will guide investment from the joint virtual funding pool committed to by Commonwealth and State and Territory governments.

Maximising jobs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be a vital outcome of these investment priorities.

Funding will be invested to support the development of the priority community-controlled sectors nominated in the National Agreement, enabling sector peak bodies to build the capacity and capability of the sectors to deliver services and provide policy development leadership in partnership with governments.

The Joint Council agreed on the following areas for investment:

  • establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander early childhood care and development workforce
  • engaging across the housing sector on how best to build the sustainability and capacity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-housing providers
  • health and disability (investment priorities will be considered by Joint Council in March 2021)

The Joint Council also endorsed indicators for each of the four Priority Reforms, which will help to show the changes governments are making to the way they are working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The Joint Council reviewed a report from an independent Aboriginal consultant on the first annual Partnership Health Check. The Partnership Health Check reflects the commitment of all Parties to put in place actions and formal checks over the life of the 10-year Partnership Agreement to ensure an effective partnership. A draft partnership risk register was also proposed.

The Joint Council communique is available here.