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Australia achieves progress in improving indigenous lives

15 February 2018

But only three of the seven targets are on track after a decade, and goals to close the gap on school attendance, halve the gap in unemployment rates and school literacy and numeracy results, look set to expire having never been met.

"The last decade has given us a richer understanding about what works and what does not", Mr Turnbull told parliament on Monday.

"I'm determined to build a stronger economy so that everyone who can find work, who can work, is able to find employment".

"We've seen huge growth in the Indigenous business sector", he says.

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Australia is failing to meet more than half of its targets aimed at improving the lives of its indigenous people, including increasing life expectancy and improving literacy, a government report said on Monday.

The mortality rate for indigenous children under four years old has fallen from 217 per 100,000 in 1998 to 145 per 100,000 in 2016, but it is still far higher than the rest of the population.

The government was on track to meet three of its seven targets - halving the gap in child mortality by 2018, halving the difference in students completing high school by 2020 and enrolling 95 percent of indigenous 4-year-olds in education programs by 2015. All states except the Northern Territory are on track to achieve the early childhood targets and only South Australia, Western Australia, the NT and the ACT met the numbers for year 12 attainment.

"If there is progress, as microscopic as it might be, that's refreshing", he told ABC radio.

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"A major reason, although by no means the only one, we're languishing in meeting a number of targets is the uncertainty in government's financial effort over recent years and this needs to be named for what it is, rather than being buried in an increasingly indecipherable lump of statistical mud", Rudd said.

However, Senator Dodson stressed the need to include more indigenous people in service delivery and improving housing supports.

The Prime Minister is due to deliver the 10th annual Closing the Gap address in Canberra today, providing the yearly report on the progress to improve employment, education and health outcomes for Indigenous Australians.

"The important thing is that we do things with indigenous Australians, not do things to them", he said.

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One Nation leader Pauline Hanson on Monday revived her attacks on taxpayer money being spent on indigenous Australians, drawing sharp criticism from Labor.

Australia achieves progress in improving indigenous lives