Joint Council on Closing the Gap

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to establish the Joint Council on Closing the Gap (the Joint Council) in December 2018. This formed a key part of its commitment to a formal Partnership on Closing the Gap (the Partnership) with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The Partnership recognises that shared decision making with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, through their representative organisations, in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap (National Agreement) is essential to improving life outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

This is the first time Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been included as joint decision makers. The Joint Council supports national leadership, coordination and cooperation on Closing the Gap and provides advice to Australian governments.

On 3 July 2020, the Joint Council agreed to the National Agreement, and endorsed it to be presented to First Ministers of all Australian governments, the Lead Convener of the Coalition of Peaks and the President of ALGA. On 27 July 2020, the National Agreement came into effect upon agreement and signature of these parties.

The Joint Council will have an ongoing role in monitoring performance and implementation of all parties’ actions under the jointly agreed National Agreement.

Work Plan

From January to December 2024 the Joint Council will:

Provide a formal response to the Productivity Commission review
(Clause 121)
Commence the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led Review
(Clause 125)
Monitor Implementation Plans (Clause 111) through Annual Reports
(Clause 118)
Establish six new place-based partnerships across Australia
(Clause 39)
Develop measures to increase the proportion of services delivered by community-controlled sector
(Clause 55a and 55b)

Meeting Communiques

24 November 2023
7 June 2023
16 December 2022
26 August 2022
3 December 2021
6 August 2021
16 April 2021, Various
17 November 2020, Various
3 July 2020, Various
23 August 2019, Adelaide
27 March 2019, Brisbane

Work Plan and Terms of Reference

Joint Council Work Plan 2023
Joint Council Terms of Reference
Partnership Working Group Terms of Reference

The Terms of Reference for the Joint Council were revised to reflect its relationship to the new National Cabinet and National Federation Reform Council, which replaced the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).