In December 2007 the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) endorsed the National Indigenous reform agreement. This is a partnership agreement between all levels of government and commits all parties to work with Aboriginal communities to close the gap on Aboriginal disadvantage.
COAG recognises that to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal Australians and overcome Aboriginal disadvantage, a long-term commitment is required to facilitate generational change. These efforts are directed across a range of building blocks to support the reforms aimed at the six Closing the Gap targets.
The building blocks endorsed by COAG to improve Aboriginal disadvantage are:
- early childhood
- economic participation
- governance and leadership
- healthy homes
- safe communities
The National Indigenous reform agreement has identified six ambitious targets. These are to:
- close the gap in life expectancy within a generation
- halve the gap in mortality rates for Indigenous children under five within a decade
- ensure all Indigenous four year olds in remote communities have access to early childhood education within five years
- halve the gap in reading, writing and numeracy achievements for Indigenous children within a decade
- halve the gap for Indigenous students in Year 12 equivalent attainment by 2020
- halve the gap in employment outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a decade.
In March 2008 COAG agreed to spend $4.6 billion to help achieve the six targets.