Queensland awards themselves a gold star for ECEC on Closing the Gap report card
In an “historic first”, Queensland became the first state to release a whole of Government report card documenting the state’s progress on their efforts towards Closing the Gap, with particular reference to the progress made in early childhood education and care (ECEC).
The report card “documented the state’s progress and highlighted opportunities for improvement, a decade on from the landmark Closing the Gap Report,” Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said, however only two of seven stated targets were met, one being in relation to ECEC enrolments.
Highlighting what Ms Palaszczuk said were “significant progressions” in early childhood education, the Premier said the state was hopeful of replicating these successes in other areas, such as school attendance, employment and child mortality targets.
Ms Palaszczuk’s comments are in stark contrast with those made by Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, who, in his parliamentary address in relation to the report stated;
“While I am not going to pretend today that this situation does not remain in an unforgivable state, I am going to say that we can never rest as a nation until we change this for all time.
And I am here to say that there is hope. That progress is and can further be made.
“This report card is a reality check and sets the tone as we develop meaningful, community-led solutions to create real change,” Ms Palaszczuk said ,welcoming the Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) decision to “finalise Closing the Gap targets and implementation through a genuine, formal partnership between the Commonwealth, state and territory governments, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through their representatives.”
The COAG partnership announced on 12 December will include a Ministerial Council on Closing the Gap and is anticipated to be in place by late February 2019.
Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Jackie Trad said partnering with Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander peoples to co-design policies and programs was vital for guaranteed outcomes.
“For the past decade the greatest progress towards Closing the Gap has been in areas where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have led the design and implementation from the very start,” Ms Trad said.
“Gone are the days of doing things “to” people as we reframe our relationship to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have every opportunity to truly thrive across all aspects of life.
“We must work better together to guarantee improvements as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families and communities are empowered to move beyond surviving to thriving.”
Ms Trad said Queensland’s approach towards Closing the Gap, including any new and revised targets, would be informed by community consultation and Queensland voices.
“The Queensland Government supports calls for the next phase of the Closing the Gap agenda, including every priority and target, to be guided by overarching principles of healing, eliminating racism and systemic discrimination, and self-determination,” she said.
Further information is available here.