Mortality, education gaps closing for Indigenous children

CLOSING the life expectancy gap remains one of Australia’s biggest challenges in overcoming Indigenous disadvantage, but child mortality rates and education targets have shown improvement, Prime Minister Julia Gillard revealed in her recent Closing the Gap 2012 report.

The report said that although two out of six targets were on track – halving infant mortality rates for Indigenous children under five by 2018 and ensuring access to early childhood education for all Indigenous four-year-olds in remote communities by 2013 – closing the life expectancy gap still required much more work.

The gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians is estimated at 11.5 years for males and 9.7 years for females.Improving data collection is critical to measuring progress, the report said.

“Meeting the life-expectancy target will be challenging as, among other things, non-Indigenous life expectancy is expected to rise over coming years,