As the federal government refocuses on a new set of targets addressing inequality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, Wagga's existing services continue to seek guarantees they can continue their work on the ground.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week announced 16 new 'Close the Gap' targets, signalling a reset for the scheme which he said had failed to adequately consult with Indigenous people since its inception in 2008.
"We told Indigenous Australians what the gap was that we were going to close and somehow thought they should be thankful for that," Mr Morrison said.
"That was wrong-headed. That wasn't the way to do it."
The new targets have been set by federal and state governments along with a coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak organisations.
Riverina Medical and Dental Aboriginal Corporation (RivMed) CEO and Wiradjuri woman Tangerene Ingram said few of the previous targets had seen success because Aboriginal organisations had not seen enough consultation.
"The previous targets, they weren't set by Aboriginal people who are the experts, and we know what we need," she said.
"For governments to stop and talk to Aboriginal people and say 'what do you need, how best can we work with you', it's about time, we need to work together."
The sixteen new targets mostly focus on improving health, education, employment and housing outcomes for Indigenous people, along with reducing incarceration rates, children in out-of-home care and strengthening land rights and languages.
Ms Ingram said there were already a range of programs in place in Wagga working towards most of the targets, from language programs at Charles Sturt University to the long list of health and early intervention programs facilitated by RivMed.
She said education and home ownership were two aspects Wagga was currently strong on, with significant progress on students graduating from high school in recent years.
"I think they're realising to get on with life you have to be educated ... it's always been very important to Wagga as a community, because Wagga's a resettlement community," she said.
"A lot of the families that moved here moved from smaller towns where opportunity wasn't that great in terms of employment and home ownership and all of this."
Ms Ingram said the number of children in out-of-home care and in detention facilities was something Wagga needed to focus on.
She said RivMed was facilitating a range of child protection, early intervention and therapeutic services that provided a "holistic" approach for children in out-of-home care and young people beginning to attract the attention of police.
She said there were programs currently running with Aboriginal staff and carers working both with young people and their families to get them back on track.
"If we can have programs like that that are strong and working long term then that I think will start to help alleviate those issues," she said.
As COVID-19 continues to affect budgets across the country, Ms Ingram said the main challenge was securing ongoing funding, with funds now allocated for a shorter time period than they used to be and funding for some of their programs set to run out at the end of the year.
"Given COVID happening I think that's been a real strain on the budget, so we're looking at hopefully after December that we will get funded for new programs," she said.
"I think they're realising if they want to reach these targets then you have to fund the services that are on the ground."
Ms Ingram said she hoped RivMed would be able to demonstrate the role its programs played in aiming for the new targets to secure funding to continue.
"There's really good targets here that's real to us, and hopefully it is achievable."