Father Chris Riley on the Close The Gap Targets

I welcome the government’s changed approach to the Close The Gap targets. The refresh mentioned by our Prime Minister is one that brings Aboriginal communities a step closer to self-determination.

Self-determination is an important part of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and incorporating collaboration into the Close The Gap target setting is a step in the right direction. It is a move by the government that will empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to establish targets they can work towards.

Self-determination is a key value in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and it’s this value that must dominate the Close The Gap refresh in order to truly help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

It’s why at Youth Off The Streets we have an Aboriginal Services team that aims to equip young people and community with the right tools to affect change in their lives. The support offered by our team isn’t one of telling Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people what to do, but one of guidance and collaboration that gives them the opportunity to succeed.

Our Aboriginal Services team strive to teach our young people about self-determination. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have the right to work with, and alongside, each other in order to better their future and the future of their community.

I’m constantly amazed at the strength and resilience displayed by the young people and communities we work with on a daily basis. I know that they’ll succeed if the right approach is taken. Self-determination and empowering communities is the way we move forward and finally close the gap.

Yours Faithfully,

Father Chris Riley
CEO and Founder at Youth Off The Streets

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