HEALT2114 : Closing The Gap In Employment Target

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HEALT2114 : Closing The Gap In Employment Target

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HEALT2114 : Closing The Gap In Employment Target

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Course Code: HEALT2114
University: Federation University

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Country: Australia

This essay extends the discussion around the Closing the Gap target and Indigenous health issues from yourgroup assignment. There may be some overlap between the two assignments, however this is an individualwritten essay that needs to contain your own original work.  

Employment can be defined as engagement in any integrated job within a particular community. According to different studies, there exists a wide gap of the rates of employment between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. It is for this reason that the Australian Government set up closing the gap in employment target by 2018.Employment is very important since it generates income and makes it possible for the employees to gain valuable skills and knowledge besides their employers covering their medical or healthcare welfare (Altman Biddle & Hunter, 2009). One of the factors that have led to increased mortality rates among indigenous Australians as compared to non-indigenous Australians is due to lack of income that hinders them from seeking specialized or modern healthcare. This target is therefore important as it will eliminate such disadvantages or obstacles.
Several factors have been evaluated and it is has been established that closing the gap of employment target by 2018 is not on track. After closely evaluating the rate of employment among the productive individuals with age between 15 and 64, employment rates among different genders and regions in Australia, it is evident that the target is on track. According to the employment to the population ratio, the rate of employment among the indigenous Australians has really dropped (Brereton & Parmenter, 2008). According to statistics, 48% of indigenous Australians between 15-64 years were employed as at 2006 and 46.6% in 2016.This implies that the rate of employment has been on the decline. On the contrary, the statistics of employment among the non-indigenous Australians has been stable at 72% over a similar period.
Illustration of employment rates between 15 and 64 years.

                           Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing 2006, 2011 and 2016
 A comparison in the rate of employment among different states and territories indicate that closing the target in employment by 2018 is not on target. New South Wales, Victoria and Australian capital are the only states in which the rates of employment have significantly improved between 2006 and 2016.This is according to statistics published in 2017.One of the leading factors that contribute to discrepancies in the rates of employment among different states is the mining industry (healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au., 2018). This is because the rate of employment has improved in areas with many mining fields than those that do not have the fields. Some of the worst affected states include Queensland, Western Australia and finally the Northern territory where the rate of employment fell considerably from 2006 to 2016.The figure below demonstrates variation in the rates of employment among different states.
                                    Source: ABS Census of population and Housing 2006 and 2016.
The rate of unemployment between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians have also been used to evaluate the progress of closing the gap in employment by 2018.Under unemployment rates, the most significant proportion was that of the unemployed in comparison to those who are in the labor force. Going by the facts, the rate of unemployment among the indigenous Australians was 18.4% while the unemployment rate among non-indigenous Australians was 6.8% (Yap, & Biddle, 2010).This therefore means that the rate of unemployment among indigenous Australians is 2.7 times higher than those among the non-indigenous Australians (Gray, Hunter & Lohoar, 2012). However, the rate of unemployment has significantly improved from the past among the indigenous Australians with 15.6% in 2006 and 17.2 % in 2007.When comparing the rate of participation in labor force of the working population between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians, it is evident that the rate in indigenous Australians is low at 57.1% as compared to 77% of the non-indigenous Australians.
                                           Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing 2006, 2011 and 2016.
Variations in the rate of employment between the two genders has also been used to evaluate closing the gap target by 2018.The statistics indicate that the rate of employment among indigenous women improved to 44.8% up from 43.2% in 2006 (Daly,2018).The rate of employment among the indigenous males dropped by 4.5% from 2006 to 2016.
                                          Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing 2006, 2011 and 2016.
Strategies used by the Australian government and future projections of the target
There are different programs that the Australian government has set up just to ensure that the target of closing the gap in employment is achieved. Prison to work initiative is one such program (Closingthegap.pmc.gov.au. 2018). This is an initiative in which indigenous prisoners are being incorporated into different employment opportunities. In the 2017-2018 financial year, the Australia government allocated $17.6 million towards the program. The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) releases the progress reports after every two years to evaluate the impact of the program on closing the gap in employment target (Vijayasingham, 2017). It is also expected that the time to work Employment Service will begin in all states as well as territories in 2018.The prison to work initiative is projected to reduce the gap in employment between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.
Jobs for indigenous rangers has been set up. This is an initiative launched by the Australian government with the objective of employing indigenous Australians as rangers. The government went further and allocated $70 million per year towards the same (Van Dijk, Kirk-Brown, Taylor, & Van der Mei, 2016). This program trains indigenous Australians to integrate traditional skills in conservation of their natural resources such as land, sea and culture. The impact of this program has been phenomenal and it is even expected to improve (Taylor, 2015). This is because at the moment, 2,500 jobs have been created for the indigenous Australians as at June 2015.
The Australian government has set up community development programs. This an initiative that is focused on creating employment opportunities in remote areas and it is provided in 60 regions and more than 1000 communities (Fowler et al., 2018). This program assists indigenous Australians who are seeking employment to acquire the necessary skills and experience needed for employment. It also assists them to overcome barriers and get employment opportunities so that they can make positive contributions to their communities (Daly & Gebremedhin, 2015).. Most of the activities are tailored in such a way that they are community based and they include renovation of building, landscaping, making of furniture and assisting in aged care facilities. The progress in this program has been quite promising with more than 21,600 jobs have been created with more than 15,700 indigenous Australians incorporated .Besides ,the Community Development Program has also made it possible for more than 7000 indigenous Australians stay in their jobs for more than 26 weeks. Since the rate of employment among the indigenous Australians has dropped while that of the non-indigenous Australians has been stable, there has been a resultant gap of 1.5% to 25.2% in the last ten years (Biddle, Taylor & Yap, 2009). This is enough evidence that the closing the gap in employment by 2018 target is not on target. The figure below illustrates the trends in rate of employment between the indigenous and non-indigenous Australians in the past decade.
The Australian government has really worked hard to close the gap in employment by 2018.This can be reflected from the numerous strategies and programs explained above. Despite this programs, I still feel that the government has to implement certain programs especially among the remote indigenous communities. The government should consider setting up several Vocational Training and Employment Centers. This institutions should be tailored in such a way that it equips this communities with skills that are necessary or are relevant in different sectors. Training will ensure the indigenous communities are equipped with specialized skills and knowledge and this will also make it possible for them to compete favorably in the job market with the non-indigenous Australians. I feel that that this program will go a long way in closing the gap of employment in 2018.
The indigenous communities in Australia have been in the past marginalized and discriminated in many sectors such as employment. This resulted into a very wide gap of employment rates between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. It is for this reason that the closing the gap in employment by 2018 initiative was launched by the Australian government. For the government to bridge this gap of employment between this two groups, it has utilized several or different strategies. Some of the notable programs in place include community development programs, setting up of different vocational training and employment opportunities and the employment parity programs. Despite the efforts by the Australian government, closing the gap of employment by 2018 target is not on track. There are different factors that have been evaluated and results indicate that the target is indeed not on track. The factors that have been evaluated include employment in terms of gender where there still exists wide discrepancies. Other notable factors that have been evaluated include employment in terms of different regions in Australia and the rates of employment among the reproductive ages of between 15 to 64 years. Unemployment is one of the reasons that affects health of the indigenous communities as it leads to stress. Lack of income also bars this communities from seeking specialized treatment. The Australian government should therefore put in place all the conditions that will speed up the target.
Altman, J. C., Biddle, N., & Hunter, B. H. (2009). Prospects for ‘closing the gap’in socioeconomic outcomes for Indigenous Australians?. Australian Economic History Review, 49(3), 225-251., doi:10.1111/j.1467-8446.2009.00264.x
Biddle, N., Taylor, J., & Yap, M. (2009). Are the Gaps Closing?: Regional Trends and Forecasts of Indigenous Employment. Australian Journal of Labour Economics, 12(3), 263. ISSN: 1328-1143.
Brereton, D., & Parmenter, J. (2008). Indigenous employment in the Australian mining industry. Journal of Energy & Natural Resources Law, 26(1), 66-90., doi: 10.1080/02646811.2008.11435178
Cook, M., & Whelldon, C. (2016). P-144 Closing the gap. Patient Care. doi:10.1136/bmjspcare-2016-001245.167
Closingthegap.pmc.gov.au. (2018). Employment | Closing the Gap. Retrieved from https://closingthegap.pmc.gov.au/employment
Daly, A. E. (2018). The employment of Aboriginal Australians in the labour market. Canberra, ACT: Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR), Research School of Social Sciences, College of Arts and Social Sciences, The Australian National University. Retrieved from: https://hdl.handle.net/1885/145447
Daly, A., & Gebremedhin, T. A. (2015). Can An “Indigenous Employment Program” Work? A Case Study of National Australia Bank. Economic Papers: A journal of applied economics and policy, 34(3), 128-138. doi:10.1111/1759-3441.12105
Fowler, A. C., Ewens, B., Vafeas, C., Delves, L., Hayward, C., Nannup, N., & Baum, G. (2018). Closing the gap: A whole of school approach to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander inclusivity in higher education. Nurse Education in Practice, 30, 86-90. doi:10.1016/j.nepr.2018.04.001
Gray, M., Hunter, B., & Lohoar, S. (2012). Increasing Indigenous employment rates. Retrieved from: https://hdl.handle.net/1885/57798
healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au. (2018). Closing the Gap – Health System – Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet. Retrieved from https://healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au/learn/health-system/closing-the-gap/
Taylor, J. (2015). Closing the Rhetoric-Reality Gap? Employees’ Perspective of Performance Management in the Australian Public Service. Australian Journal of Public Administration, 74(3), 336-353. doi:10.1111/1467-8500.12066
Van Dijk, P. A., Kirk-Brown, A. K., Taylor, B., & Van der Mei, I. (2016). Closing the gap: Longitudinal changes in employment for Australians with multiple sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis Journal, 23(10), 1415-1423. doi:10.1177/1352458516678934
Vijayasingham, L. (2017). Closing the gap on employment rates: Success stories pave the way for policy works-in-progress. Multiple Sclerosis Journal, 23(10), 1430-1431. doi:10.1177/1352458517701315
Yap, M., & Biddle, N. (2010). Gender Gaps in Indigenous Socioeconomic Outcomes: Australian Regional Comparisons and International Possibilities. International Indigenous Policy Journal, 1(2). doi:10.18584/iipj.2010.1.2.3

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