ABORIGINAL people want to be in the driver's seat to close the gap; after a 2018 review showed the state and federal governments hadn't yet succeeded.
The NSW Coalition of Aboriginal Peak Organisations (NSW CAPO) held an open forum in Tamworth to hear exactly what the locals think needs to be done to implement five priority reforms in the state.
The priority reforms were identified in 2019 and include formal partnerships with government and shared decision-making; building the community-controlled sector; transforming government organisations; shared access to data and information at a regional level and economic prosperity and employment.
The big thing that came out of the Tamworth meeting was the need to work collaboratively for reform to occur, NSW CAPO chairperson Charles Lynch said.
"For any real reforms it's important that they have an ongoing relationship and be involved in the consultation process," he said.
"When we look at the seven original targets there's no hidden agenda there; five were not on track and two were.
"The real change now going forward is the fact that Aboriginal people will have a say, a real partnership or relationship with government and input in the issues that affect them everyday.
"It's about bringing about change and having the resources to reduce the targets."
CAPO and the state and federal governments signed a National Agreement on Closing the Gap in 2020.
The agreement recognised that the only way to genuinely close the gap is when Aboriginal people own, commit to and drive the outcomes alongside government.
The Tamworth meeting saw a good representation from the Aboriginal community, Mr Lynch said, whether they were health workers, representing organisations or community elders.
"This is an ongoing journey, it's not something that will change overnight," he said.
"But the next 12 months we want to have a jurisdictional plan implemented in NSW which will be a living document for a 10-year change.
"It's been 13 years since Closing the Gap came about with little impact while being driven by government, but Aboriginal people are now having a say."
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