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On National Close The Gap Day, an open letter to the Prime Minister
Today on National Close the Gap Day, the Local Government Association of Queensland pays its respects to our great country's first Peoples.
The LGAQ acknowledges the sadder elements of Australia’s historic treatment of its indigenous people and celebrates the positive steps made to ensure first Australians enjoy the same advantages as all other Australians. In saying that, we recognise that much still needs to be done to ensure the remaining significant gaps in advantage are overcome.
It is these very evident gaps in advantage that have prompted the LGAQ and local governments across Queensland _ indigenous and non-indigenous alike _ to ask why the Federal Government is walking away from a strategy that has proven to being effective in closing these gaps in discrete and remote indigenous communities.
When so many other strategies have failed to ease the disadvantage, why is your Government walking away from a strategy that indigenous Queensland councils and its own review panel agree is delivering positive outcomes in indigenous employment, education participation, health and reductions in violence and crime?
On this important day for all Australians, the LGAQ calls upon you and your Government to continue direct investment in housing construction and maintenance in Queensland’s remote indigenous communities.
Through the employment that this housing construction and maintenance provides, through the improved education and health outcomes that a secure and nurturing household provides, through the pride and independence that a productive local economy built on a vibrant construction industry provides, you have a chance to build on the successes that have been achieved in remote communities.
Walk away and the progress is lost. Walk away and what should be a good story becomes a sad story. Walk away and the hope the program has provided thus far will revert to despair.
Prime Minister, your program to date has helped many people and should be celebrated for its success to date. Don’t walk away now while the job is only half done.
LGAQ chief executive
Local Government Association of Queensland
LG House, 25 Evelyn Street, Newstead Qld 4006
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