Kristal Kinsela, during the Special Gathering of Prominent Indigenous Leaders who provided advice to Government on the Closing the Gap Refresh. Pictured with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Secretary Of the Dept of Premier & Cabinet Tim Reardon, General Manager of Aboriginal Affairs NSW Jason Ardler and the other five representatives who include Ray Kelly, Isaiah Dawe, Ruth Davys, Les Turner and Des Jones.
IPS Director Kristal Kinsela met and briefed Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the Coalition of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting on Friday February 9.
Kristal was one of 10 Indigenous leaders invited to a special gathering in Canberra on the 10th anniversary of COAG’s pledge to Close the Gap in outcomes for Indigenous Australians. The group represented the views of a two-day Special Gathering of prominent Indigenous leaders from around the country held ahead of COAG, to provide advice to the government on refreshing the Close the Gap agenda.
Kristal said she hoped to demonstrate her commitment to Indigenous people in seeking the partnership of all governments to a process to close the gap.
“It is a history making event,” she said. “There has never been a group of representatives, let alone a group of Indigenous representatives permitted into a COAG meeting.”
The delegation presented COAG with a statement setting out priorities for the refresh, and collectively had 45 minutes to present their message to the assembled ministers. Kristal spoke on economic development, highlighting the success of the Commonwealth’s Indigenous Procurement Policy (IPP) and that growing Indigenous businesses is a strengths-based approach, versus focusing on a deficit. She urged all States and Territories to implement similar procurement policies and to consider their role in supporting Indigenous business through start-up and accelerators.
Kristal later said she was happy with a statement in the COAG outcomes that they would publish jurisdiction‑specific procurement policies, and Indigenous employment and business outcomes annually.
SBS reported that states and territories would be given their own sets of targets to help close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage.
“IPS sees great value in this,” Kristal said. “Because you can’t take a national lens when you have vast differences between states, to states and urban, regional and remote communities.”
The following Monday, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet released the Closing the Gap – Prime Minister’s Report 2018, with a statement that all levels of government will work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in genuine partnership to develop renewed targets that are measurable and meaningful. The report, which can be found here, found that three out of the seven Closing the Gap targets are on track to be met. The Prime Minister’s statement can be found on you tube here.
The Close the Gap review is scheduled to be completed in October.