In response to requests from the Aboriginal community, particularly the Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Organisations (the Coalition of Peaks), for a greater level of Aboriginal consultation and involvement, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed at its December 2018 meeting in Adelaide to enter into a formal partnership with the Aboriginal community to develop and implement the refreshed Closing the Gap framework.
This resulted in the establishment of the Joint Ministerial Council on Closing the Gap (Joint Council) as the body to develop the priorities, targets and indicators for the new Closing the Gap framework and to oversee its implementation.
The Joint Council is co-chaired by the Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP, and the Lead Convenor of the Coalition of Peaks, Ms Pat Turner AM. It includes ministers from each jurisdiction, a representative from the Coalition of Peaks from each state and territory, and the President of the Australian Local Government Association.
It is the first COAG Council to include non-government members as equal partners.
The South Australian Coalition of Peaks representative is Mr Scott Wilson, Lead Convenor of the South Australian Community Controlled Organisation Network, and Chief Executive Officer, Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council South Australia.
In addition to establishing the Joint Council, a Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap was developed by the Coalition of Peaks, setting out the role and responsibilities of the Joint Council members. The Premier of South Australia, the Hon Steven Marshall MP, was one of the first to sign the agreement, on 26 March 2019.
The Joint Council will have an ongoing role in monitoring performance and implementation of all parties’ actions under the jointly agreed new National Agreement on Closing the Gap, which came into effect in July 2020.