Queensland slowest to improve indigenous employment

QUEENSLAND has been the slowest state to make any progress on improving indigenous employment opportunities, the latest report on Closing the Gap targets reveals.

The report on all governments' progress on six key targets from the COAG Reform Council found mixed results.

While gains were found in Year 12 attainment, life expectancy and literacy and numeracy skills among indigenous school students; employment, obesity and higher education were steady or falling.

The last report on the Closing the Gap targets from the Council before it is abolished in June covers five years of statistics under the COAG agreements.

It found reading scores were lifting across all year levels, and a jump in indigenous students finishing high school, but that growth was not translating to jobs.

"We found that since 2008, employment outcomes for indigenous Australians did not improve in any state or territory," Council chairman John Brumby said.

Despite the targets aiming to halve the employment gap between First Australians and other citizens by 2018, the gap actually got bigger in the past five years.

Queensland has the worst outcomes of all state on employment of indigenous Australians, with indigenous unemployment rising 8.8 percentage points to 21.9% in the past five years.

However, the Sunshine State also recorded the top results on numeracy, in Years 3 and 5, up between nine and seven points over the period.

New South Wales had the lowest child death rates for indigenous children and was the only state where indigenous adult smoking rates fell in five years.

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