News

Report card on indigenous challenges mixed

PRIME Minister Julia Gillard fears "retrograde" steps being taken by state governments are leading to the "rivers of grog" flowing back into indigenous communities in Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Ms Gillard raised the issue during her Closing the Gap statement to the House of Representatives, a report card on the myriad challenges facing Australia's indigenous population.

The report card was mixed, but Ms Gillard said that was to be expected.

"The set-backs that make us aim higher; the successes that make us glad we did," Ms Gillard said.

She confirmed the pledge made five years ago to ensure all four-year-olds in remote indigenous communities would have access to childhood education would be met later this year.

That success needed to be replicated in primary and high school, Ms Gillard said.

She said the number of indigenous people with a Year 12 or equivalent qualification stood at 54% in the 2011 Census - ahead of target and up from 47% in 2006.

But she said when compared to the non-indigenous figure of 86% the magnitude of the task was evident.

Progress was also being made on indigenous infant mortality rates and closing the employment gap, although more work was needed.

In terms of literacy and numeracy Ms Gillard conceded there were some "troubling" statistics.

While there were some positives to be found - like 78% of Year 3 children reaching or exceeding the national benchmark - Ms Gillard said significant disparities remained between indigenous and non-indigenous students.

Ms Gillard said of most concern was the fact Year 3 reading had declined last year after improving between 2008 and 2011.

And in Year 9 writing the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous children was 35%, compared to 16% for Year 3 writing.

On the issue of alcohol management, Ms Gillard threatened her government would "take action" against any policy changes it deemed to be "irresponsible".

She said the task of closing the gap was hard enough without state government "undoing the good work that has already been accomplished".

"This is why I am very concerned about the alcohol policies adopted by the Country Liberal Party since it came to government in the Northern Territory," Ms Gillard said.

"I am concerned about plans touted by the Liberal National Party in Queensland to wind back restrictions in that state, too.

"'Tragedy' was the word Noel Pearson used to describe the Newman government's plans."

Ms Gillard urged the Newman government to exercise "extreme caution" as it reviewed remote alcohol restrictions.

Queensland's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs Minister Glen Elmes accused the Prime Minister of misrepresenting the Newman government's plans.

He said claims by Ms Gillard that the Queensland Government was planning to wind back alcohol restrictions were untrue.

"Playing politics is one thing but misrepresenting the facts is quite another," Mr Elmes said.

"The Newman government is giving Indigenous communities across the State a say in their own future.

"Our approach is to work with these communities individually.

"We will not impose an edict from Brisbane on a community in Cape York or any other place, and neither should the Federal Government."

Topics:  closing the gap house of representatives julia gillard


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Council orders developers to stop work

ISSUE: Orianna Resort Group is appealing Moreton Bay Regional Council's stop work notice.

Council orders developers to stop work

Coast driver spent '3km in wrong lane' before head-on crash

HIGH SPEED: The charged Sunshine Coast man was driving the purple car, in the photo.

A Coast man allegedly drove 3km in wrong lane before head-on smash

An eager eye for trains

TRAIN ENTHUSIAST: Noel Walker builds his miniature models in his home at Arcare in Caboolture.

Noel Walker hasn't let losing his sight hold him back.

Local Partners

Crikey! Why more crocs are heading south

CROC MAP: Crocodile expert says a population boom and warmer waters are drawing more of the prehistoric predators further south

REVIEW: Under the Gun doco looks at right to bear arms

ARMED: A still from the 2016 documentary film Under the Gun by Stephanie Soechtig.

An in-depth look into America's gun culture.

Messing with your head

MIND BLOWN: What could be weirder than the realisation that we have another completely separate brain and nervous system than the one originating in our heads?

Fascinating connection between your gut and your brain

Sir Elton John coming to Mackay: What you need to know

Sir Elton will come to Mackay and Cairns in September.

Tickets to the concert go on sale on March 14

Former Family Matters stare accused of child abuse

DARIUS McCrary, who played Eddie Winslow on the ’90s sitcom Family Matters, has been accused of holding his infant daughter over a pot of boiling water.

Bindi Irwin's birthday tribute to her dad

Bindi Irwin

Bindi Irwin has paid tribute to her dad on his 55th birthday

Reality TV show gives Maryborough a boost

*WARNING EMBARGOED until 9.15pm Monday January 30* Sean Hollands and Susan Rawlings pictured after their wedding on the TV series Married At First Sight. Supplied by Channel 9.

Maryborough looks good on reality TV show.

Buderim dad rejects gay son's emotional plea for second time

LOVERS: Grant and Chris have been together for more than three years, and Chris' parents refuse to acknowledge their son's fiance.

Son’s emotional plea rejected again by unmoved father

What's on the big screen this week

Ewan McGregor and Jonny Lee Miller in a scene from the movie T2: Trainspotting.

This week's new releases offer plenty of variety for movie buffs.

REVIEW: Under the Gun doco looks at right to bear arms

ARMED: A still from the 2016 documentary film Under the Gun by Stephanie Soechtig.

An in-depth look into America's gun culture.

Hodges proud to be part of first channel dedicated to NRL

Justin Hodges is gearing up for his new gig on Fox League.

Footy star hopes to provide a voice for players on new NRL channel

$140k damage: landlord says property trashed, contaminated

He had what he calls "the tenants from hell"

Submarine, buses and 3000 tyres removed in $100K clean up

The list of things removed from this property is beyond astonishing

Popular island resort sells to loaded international investor

OUR PICK: Chris Foey's colourful shot of one of Gladstone's great tourism hot spots, Heron Island.

International investor snaps up piece of Gladstone paradise.

Expert: Why renters, home buyers may struggle

Matusik Property Insights director Michael Matusik.

What's next for the city's housing market

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!