While the Prime Minister reveals stasis on achieving close the gap targets, improving the health and education of Indigenous children may be in the hands of individuals like Barcaldine local, Cheryl Thompson.
Since opening the Alice River Aboriginal Student Hostel, Ms Thompson has taken thirty-five Indigenous children under her wing to support and accommodate them through childhood and school.
“We can get the children up, make sure they have breakfast, support their educational needs and ensure their home life centres around school, getting active and doing sport,” she says.
“We’re also able to work with the parents while we do this job.”
The Close the Gap report, delivered to the Federal Court earlier today, revealed that targets were not on track to halve the gap in school attendance rates between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students.
However the number of Indigenous students to graduate from high school is set to be halved by 2020.
Mr Turnbull said that the report revealed ‘mixed’ results, but many of the targets were not on track, including improving Indigenous employment and life expectancy.
“The life expectancy gap is still around 10 years, an unacceptably wide gap, and this target is not on track,” he said.
However the rate of infant mortality has declined drastically in recent years, marking a sign of hope for future generations.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies born today live longer, are healthier and have more opportunities to live and achieve their full potential… That’s something that should fill all of us with optimism about our future,” said Mr Turnbull.