$400m Closing The Gap Budget Announcement In Lightning Ridge

The NSW Government has announced $401 million in additional funding over four years in the 2022-23 Budget, to prioritise Closing the Gap and other projects that improve outcomes for Aboriginal people across the state.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said the significant investment reflected the need for a fresh approach to meaningfully shift the dial on Closing the Gap targets. 

“It’s clear traditional Government-led approaches haven’t worked. This needs to be done hand-in-hand with Aboriginal communities, who know best what changes need to be made to help communities thrive,” Mr Perrottet said.

“That’s why we’ve worked in partnership with Aboriginal stakeholders to co-design a suite of initiatives across all areas of Government to make a greater difference.

“These initiatives span areas like improving cancer care pathways for Aboriginal people, boosting the Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation sector to support empowerment, and support for Aboriginal community housing providers.”

The NSW Coalition of Aboriginal Peak Organisations (NSW CAPO) will lead the innovative partnership.

The package also includes a $30 million ‘Community and Place Grants Program’, offering grants of up to $250,000 to Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) to deliver practical, immediate, and locally-focused activities targeting Closing the Gap outcomes.

“This Program is about empowering Aboriginal communities and enabling communities to invest in projects that reflect local priorities.”

Mr Perrottet said other inclusions in today’s investment in Aboriginal culture and languages were important to respect and acknowledge the past, such as funding to expand and strengthen the Aboriginal Languages Trust, and Stolen Generations’ keeping places and memorials. The remediation and transfer of Me-Mel (Goat Island) to the Aboriginal community was another significant step toward restoring cultural heritage.

Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Ben Franklin said this funding for tangible outcomes would be delivered with Aboriginal communities.

“We are incredibly proud to be working with the NSW Coalition of Aboriginal Peak Organisations and other Aboriginal stakeholders as we work to make a real difference in all parts of this state,” Mr Franklin said.

“Investing now in these initiatives will significantly increase the likelihood of NSW achieving its targets under the National Agreement on Closing the Gap by 2031.

“This funding will not only deliver real outcomes in partnership with Aboriginal communities, but also represents a record investment in recent memory for Aboriginal Outcomes and Closing the Gap in NSW.”

This package includes a strong focus on the below outcomes:

  • investing in Aboriginal economic empowerment
  • supporting Aboriginal children and young people to thrive
  • delivering health and wellbeing in Aboriginal communities
  • improving the justice system
  • investing in appropriate Aboriginal housing and infrastructure, and improving land rights for Aboriginal communities
  • supporting Aboriginal languages and culture, and respecting and acknowledging the past as the cornerstone to a diverse NSW
  • delivering improved data and governance in partnership with Aboriginal people

Councillor Charles Lynch, NSW Aboriginal Land Council, co-chair of the NSW Coalition of Aboriginal Peak Organisations welcomed this funding by the NSW Government.

“This is a very significant moment for Aboriginal people and communities, and for the first time we are seeing a government that is genuinely investing in the needs of Aboriginal people to address the disparities under Closing the Gap,” Mr Lynch said.

“This funding will not only deliver impact in Aboriginal communities, but also recognises how government needs to work with us from now and into the future.”