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Reconciliation supported by Australians, but intolerance persists -

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ELEANOR HALL: Reconciliation Australia is launching a report that finds that, while pride in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures is increasing, Indigenous Australians are still experiencing high levels of discrimination and that this is holding back our progress as a nation.

The report is the first of its kind in more than a decade.

It also finds that business and community support for reconciliation is high and that Australians want to improve race relations.

But Indigenous leaders say there's a long way to go to bridge the gap in trust, as Bridget Brennan reports.

BRIDGET BRENNAN: Racism has been at the centre of our national debate in the last year.

COMMENTATOR: He's had to deal with all sorts of booing, et cetera, around the country for all sorts of reasons.

BRIDGET BRENNAN: Aboriginal AFL star Adam Goodes took leave from the Sydney Swans, and then retired, after he was routinely booed by spectators.

ADAM GOODES: It's just a continual battle at the moment and it's frustrating.

BRIDGET BRENNAN: And, just last week, Aboriginal woman and Federal Labor MP Nova Peris detailed some of the online racial abuse she receives regularly.

NOVA PERIS: It's almost a bit water off a duck's back now and I sort of think well you can hide behind ink, I'm going to call it out, but if I don't stand up, like I've got three children and grandson, I'm not going to take this anymore.

BRIDGET BRENNAN: It's not just prominent Indigenous sporting stars and politicians who say that racism has affected them.

A third of Aboriginal people have told Reconciliation Australia that they've been the subject of racial abuse recently.

Melinda Cilento is the co-chairwoman of the Reconciliation Australia Board.

MELINDA CILENTO: I think many people would be surprised but for people like myself who have a lot of contact with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, it is part of the lived reality for many people every day.

And that's the unfortunate thing and I guess from my perspective I just think it's really important that we actually start calling that out a little bit more because when you talk to people, when you understand what it means to them and how hurtful and damaging it is.

BRIDGET BRENNAN: 'The State of Reconciliation in Australia' report found that 86 per cent of Australians want to build a strong relationship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

But the report suggests there's a long way to go until it's a truly respectful relationship.

Just a quarter of the people surveyed thought that there was a high level of trust between Indigenous people and non-Indigenous Australians.

Justin Mohamed is the chief executive of Reconciliation Australia.

JUSTIN MOHAMED: Yeah look the report itself probably hasn't uncovered it, I think it's always been there for the nation to see, played out in a lot of different ways across the activities across Australia.

But what the report has done, it's highlighted the fact that until we move towards a zero tolerance on racism, it's always going to be something that's going to hold back this nation.

BRIDGET BRENNAN: Reconciliation Australia says education is crucial, but the report found most Australians have very little knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage.

Just 30 per cent of people said they knew something about Indigenous history.

Reconciliation Australia's Melinda Cilento again.

MELINDA CILENTO: Everyone has the ability to inform themselves more about our history and to have conversations about what that history means.

And so I think really we're calling on all Australians to actually try to better understand the history and to talk to people about it and to seek out more information about that and to try to understand that from the perspectives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

But I think there's also a need for us to consider a process that deals with understanding our history, a sort of truth and justice process if you like, so we can start having a more formal national conversation about those issues.

You know, not everyone will come into regular contact with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, I suspect more people are coming in contact with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than perhaps they realise it.

BRIDGET BRENNAN: Tomorrow the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will deliver the annual Closing the Gap report card in Federal Parliament.

Reconciliation Australia's Justin Mohamed says many Indigenous Australians continue to be frustrated by the health and education inequalities they suffer, and he thinks that's a big barrier to true reconciliation.

JUSTIN MOHAMED: Our report again focuses, and we actually call that this Close the Gap, or Closing the Gap as it's called by governments, needs to have renewed focus by all governments, states and territories and the Federal Government.

We saw 10 years ago there was an overwhelming commitment from all levels of government, and we saw a huge injection of resources and commitment.

We've seen over the years that this has petered out, some states and territories haven't been holding up their end of the bargain, and the Federal Government have had a number of different things on their agenda which has taken the focus away.

It needs to be renewed, it needs to be focused and we need to move this faster or we're going to continually see this slip.

At the moment it hasn't reached the heights that we wanted it to reach, but we are a part of a generational change and we need to start moving very swiftly now.

ELEANOR HALL: That’s Reconciliation Australia's Justin Mohamed ending Bridget Brennan's report.