INDIGENOUS leaders in central Victoria say governments need to work with Indigenous communities to achieve better health, education, and employment outcomes.
It comes after the 2020 Closing the Gap Report showed five of the seven targets designed to reduce disadvantage in Indigenous communities were either not on track or hadn't been met.
Targets like halving the gap in child mortality rates by 2018 and halving the gap for Indigenous children in areas like reading, writing, and numeracy within a decade (by 2018) fell short.
The target to close the gap in life expectancy by 2031 was also not on track, the report said.
But targets to increase the number of Indigenous four-year-olds enrolled into early childhood education by 2025, and to halve the gap for Indigenous Australians to finish year 12 by 2020 were on target to be met.
Bendigo and District Aboriginal Co-operative chief executive Raylene Harradine said it was good to see improvement in some areas.
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"I think the government's roll-out of subsidising kindergarten for our mob is really important," she said.
"We are seeing a lot of our children coming into that space, but sometimes our families don't really have that support and advocacy to be able to get them there.
"There has also been a lot of effort put in with year 12 and in the education sector. Our young people are getting there and completing year 12. I suppose that's going to set them up."
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the government would work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to develop new targets and priorities in the next stage of Closing the Gap.
Mallee District Aboriginal Services chief executive Rudy Kirby - who was in Bendigo for the Loddon Mallee Aboriginal Reference Group conference - said it was time governments worked with Indigenous people.
"Work with us and empower our communities because we do have the solutions," he said.
"There are some positive things in there, but it's about how we as a community work together and walk together in solving issues around closing the gap."
Mr Kirby said governments needed to be prepared to listen.
"The only thing I always get weary of is another framework," he said. "I've probably lost count on the number of frameworks on how to close the gap here in Australia, both at a state and federal level.
"So I think there needs to be a consistent approach on how we work with Aboriginal communities with local solutions to fix local problems.
"That's the real challenge for governments - how do they step out of the way and work with us, not dictate.
"Some are sitting in their ivory towers in Canberra or Spring Street in Melbourne dreaming of their solutions rather than working with us."
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