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Source: The Conversation (Au and NZ) – By Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

The federal government has released its latest implementation plan for Closing the Gap on Indigenous disadvantage.

What are multiple gaps are still vast, with many areas not on track to meet their targets.

After the failed Voice referendum, the government is looking to the next steps for First Nations people. To discuss this week’s policy announcement, the centrepiece of which is a $700 million jobs program for people in remote areas, we’re joined by Malarndirri McCarthy, senator for the Northern Territory and Assistant Minister for Indigenous Australians.

McCarthy says:

As an Aboriginal woman. I find the discussion around closing the gap incredibly disheartening, but I have a lot of faith in the sense that we are in our areas trying to do what we can.

On what has to be done:

One of the critical areas that came through all responses from the Productivity Commission’s report was the fact that it needed buy-in with First Nations people, that there needed to be systemic change, that there needed to be structural change, to enable First Nations people to be very much a part of the decision making.

On why progress can be so difficult:

I also understand that the politics of Aboriginal affairs is such that it does become a political football. And a lot of the time you do spend much of it seeing it just kicked back and forwards.

On treaty and truth telling, McCarthy urges patience:

As a Yanyuwa Garrawa woman […] treaty to me is still unfinished business for First Nations people and our country, just like truth-telling is. And there’s no rush. We will get there. And, I still say to people: ‘Stay strong’.

The Conversation

Michelle Grattan does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

ref. Politics with Michelle Grattan: Assistant minister Malarndirri McCarthy says there’s ‘no rush’ on treaty and truth-telling –