Understanding the challenges for First Nations peoples

Queensland is home to over 273,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, making up 5.2 per cent of our population in 2021. Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is also growing, up by 23.5 per cent since 2016.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders are younger, on average, than the rest of the population.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across the state have historically been, and continue to be, confronted by a range of complex factors contributing to higher levels of socio-economic disadvantage, higher rates of chronic disease and lower levels of education attainment, among other things.

The Queensland Government remains committed to partnering with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across the state to achieve the ambitious aims of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap, and to deliver real change.

Recent data shows several key strengths, including:

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9 in 10

babies born with a healthy birth weight

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9 in 10

women attend at least 5 antenatal visits while pregnant

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of children enrolled in preschool in the year before school

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8 in 10

Year 12 graduates in 2021 awarded a Queensland Certificate of Education

Employment rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people increased to 57.2 per cent in 2021, up from 52.1 per cent in 2016, with every age group seeing an uplift in employment rates.

Significant challenges remain. Rates of children and young people in out-of-home care and youth detention remain high, as do rates of hospitalisation for preventable conditions and overall mortality rates.

Path to Treaty

On 10 May 2023, after receiving bipartisan support, the Path to Treaty Bill was set into law with the passing of the landmark legislation in the Queensland Parliament. The bill creates the legislative framework to establish: 

  • a First Nations Treaty Institute to support the development and provision of a framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to prepare for and then commence treaty negotiations with the Queensland Government
  • a Truth-telling and Healing Inquiry to inquire into, and report on, the effects of colonisation on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The 2021–22 Budget established a dedicated $300 million Path to Treaty Fund, with annual returns available to support Queensland’s Path to Treaty activities, including a $10 million annual allocation to support the First Nations Treaty Institute for the duration of treaty-making.

Support for First Nations peoples

Housing Action Plan

First Nations peoples in Queensland are 6 times more likely to experience homelessness than other Queenslanders, twice as likely to experience severe overcrowding, and approximately half as likely to achieve home ownership than non-Indigenous Queenslanders.

This is why the government is establishing the second Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Housing Action Plan (2024–2027), with the 2023–24 Budget providing $51.3 million in additional funding over 4 years, with a focus on progressing Closing the Gap initiatives, enhancing culturally safe services and delivering innovative housing supply solutions.

As part of the additional $1.1 billion for the delivery and supply of social housing through the Housing and Homelessness Action Plan 2021–2025, $77 million is committed to continue the development of social housing in remote and discrete First Nations communities.  The expanded QuickStarts Queensland program will include the delivery of new social housing outcomes for First Nations people across Queensland.

Our Way

Following extensive co-design with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and stakeholders, this government is committing increased funding of $167.2 million over 4 years and $20 million ongoing from 2027–28, to continue to support activities and reforms aimed at eliminating the over-representation of First Nations peoples in the child protection system. The Our Way strategy represents a fundamental shift in how child protection, family support and other services work with, and for, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families.  The next stage of Our Way, Breaking Cycles (2023–2031) builds on the foundations for transformational change in the child protection system set under Changing Tracks with a focus on changing the way that services are designed and delivered with and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, young people, and families to eliminate the disproportionate representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the child protection system in Queensland.

Managing Country with First Nations Peoples

The Queensland Government has committed to reframing relationships with First Nations people, partnering with them to deliver the best care for country through traditional knowledge and expertise, co‑stewardship arrangements and recognising native title. This is why the government will provide $38.6 million over 4 years and $10.4 million per annum ongoing to ensure that we progress agreements and relationships that promote respect, culture, rights and active co-stewardship of Country. The government will also continue its partnership with the Quandamooka People, providing $31.9 million over 4 years and $1.7 million per annum ongoing, to extend ranger accommodation at Minjerribah (Stradbroke Island) and Mulgumpin (Moreton Island), to implement a fire management plan on Mulgumpin and to assist in management of the Moreton Bay Marine Park.

Budget Overview Download
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