Key indigeous council ignores ‘Sorry’ event potential

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One of Australia’s best-known aboriginal people, NRL star Johnathan Thurston, is an ambassador for the Queensland Government’s Reconciliation Awards. However the halfback’s efforts can only go so far when the side he famously represents, the North Queensland Cowboys, can’t get their Townsville City Council to hold an Apology Anniversary event.

The Coalition today delivered the annual Closing The Gap report, which analyses key performance indicators in the welfare of Australia’s indigenous peoples.

Cowboys star Johnathan Thurston takes aim at reconciliation

From the Townsville Bulletin, 10th February 2014

COWBOYS star Johnathan Thurston wants Townsville to get behind reconciliation.

The North Queensland half-back and co-captain has taken on the role as ambassador for the Queensland Reconciliation Awards for the second year in a row and said he hoped to see plenty of nominees from the region.

“I think it’s just a great initiative by the Queensland Government, which engages the community to advance reconciliation throughout the state,” Thurston said.

“Last year there was a winner from Cape York and a couple in Brisbane. It’s great to see all types of businesses, community organisations and educational institutions helping.

“Hopefully there will be a lot of nominees throughout North Queensland.”

Thurston said more work to close the life-expectancy gap needed to be done.

“I think there’s a lot being done at the moment but there’s still a long way to go,” he said.

“Indigenous Australians are dying 10 years younger than non-indigenous Australians and we’re still a fair way off closing the gap.

“But, it’s great to see the federal and state governments are doing their part and helping to advance reconciliation.”

Nominations for the Queensland Reconciliation Awards close on Monday, March 3. Visit or call 3003 9200.

Closing the Gap: Tony Abbott delivers mixed report card on Indigenous disadvantage

From 12th February 2014

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has told Parliament that the nation is failing to meet the “more important and the more meaningful targets” in Indigenous disadvantage, and has announced a new target to close the gap on school attendance.

Mr Abbott has delivered this year’s Closing the Gap report, which covers areas such as life expectancy, education and unemployment, and aims to breach the divide between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians by 2030.

He told MPs that the targets to halve the gap in child mortality within a decade and to have 95 per cent of remote children enrolled in preschool are on track.

However, he revealed the “bad news” that there has been almost no progress in closing the life expectancy gap and very little improvement in literacy.

“And Indigenous employment, I deeply regret to say, has, if anything, slipped backwards over the past few years,” he said.

“So we are not on track to achieve the more important and the more meaningful targets.

“Because it’s hard to be literate and numerate without attending school.

“It’s hard to find work without a basic education and it’s hard to live well without a job.”

The report states that non-Indigenous Australians live about 10 years longer than Aboriginal Australians, that the progress in closing the gap in literacy has improved in only Year 3 and Year 5 Reading (based on NAPLAN results) and that only 30 per cent of Indigenous adults in remote areas were employed in a mainstream job.

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