Closing the Gap No 3 - Better outcomes in education, health and employment

Richard Trudgen and Nikunu Yunupingu go into more details around the Government program “Closing the Gap”.  Now that it’s understood that the Government wants better outcomes for Aboriginal people in education, health and employment then the question is asked, “Whose fault is it that the gap is not closing?”

Here it becomes very easy for Yolngu to turn on themselves because they believe they’re always being blamed for everything that goes wrong. One question gets asked frequently…. “What is the difference between the mission days and now?” At that time there was full employment, people were healthy and lived to an old age and everyone went to school. It seems there has been a change in the Balanda culture and its approach. Back then all Balanda coming to Arnhem Land, learnt Yolngu Matha and Yolngu culture. The Balanda also trusted Yolngu with responsible jobs. The Balanda were meeting Yolngu halfway, helping to close the gap in communication. Now it seems the load is all on Yolngu.

If COAG wants to close the gap in education, then this begs the question “What is real education?” It appears the schools have become a battleground over learning the English language without any actual learning programs that teach English. Are the children dropping out instead and turning to drugs and petrol sniffing?


There are 6 Stories in this podcast. Please see time stamps below:

  • Yolngu are still confused what it means and government is confused on how to close the gap. – 00:00
  • Where can we find the answers – is it the Yolngu peoples fault? – 16:13
  • Mission days – lots of employment – schools full – people reaching old age – What is different now? – 33:58
  • What changed? Balanda culture changed. Is school a safe learning environment? – 48:33
  • What is the best language for education? – 1:04:28
  • Battle over learning English language not knowledge – 1:19:48