Closing the Gap: Indigenous health, education, employment ‘not on track’.

The latest Closing the Gap report has painted a bleak picture of government efforts to improve the lives of Australia’s indigenous communities, including the startling statistic that more than half of all Aboriginal Australians are unemployed.

The ninth annual report, presented to parliament by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Tuesday, showed Australia was not on track to meet six of seven targets in health, education and employment.

The target to close the life expectancy gap by 2031 is not on track to be met, the report said, despite a decline in the total Indigenous mortality rate between 1998 and 2015.

The report also showed the Indigenous mortality rate from cancer, the second leading cause of death, was rising and the gap was widening.

Efforts to reduce child mortality are also behind the slated goal of halving that gap. In employment, the report reveals setbacks, with the Indigenous employment rate sitting at 48.4 per cent, compared to 53.8 in 2008.

The goal to halve the employment gap is also not on track, while efforts to improve reading and numeracy outcomes, and school attendance are also lagging behind.

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