Aboriginal health advertising campaign delivers stiff message to nation’s leaders: There can be no quick fix

Campaigns and Advocacy, Media Releases article written on the 05 Jul 2007

A national Aboriginal health advertising campaign starts to roll out across Australia today (5 July) to remind our nation’s leaders that we can close the 17-year life gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians by funding and supporting successful long-term Aboriginal health programs, says Close The Gap.
‘The Prime Minister’s recognition of the appalling disadvantage of many Indigenous Australians is welcome. However addressing this ‘national emergency’ needs a long term political commitment over the next decade,’ said Oxfam Australia Policy Director, James Ensor.
Launched in April by Ambassadors Ian Thorpe and Cathy Freeman, the Close the Gap campaign is calling on Australian governments to take action to achieve health equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders within 25 years through:
increasing annual Indigenous health funding by $460 million to enable equal access to health services
supporting Indigenous responsibility through their control and participation in the delivery of health and other services
addressing critical social issues such as poor housing, nutrition and education which contribute to the Indigenous health crisis
‘After years of repeated calls for additional resources and support from Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders, at last the nation is alive to the Aboriginal health crisis,’ said Dea Thiele, CEO of the National Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Organisation. ‘Australia must seize this chance to help improve the lives and welfare of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders.’
The high profile billboard posters roll out this week and next in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane as well as Adelaide and feature an Aboriginal flag in the form of a band aid alongside the words: The Indigenous health crisis needs more than a quick fix.
Opting to unveil the national poster campaign at the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) in Melbourne sends a powerful message to the Australian community, as James Ensor explains. ‘We can close the 17-year life gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians by funding and supporting successful long-term Aboriginal health programs.’ He added, ‘But it’s not ok to procrastinate and it’s not ok to drip feed support for programs that have been shown to work for health. Appropriate funding is needed over the next decade at least to help solve the Aboriginal health crisis.’
VACCHO represent 24 Aboriginal community controlled health services around Victoria. Each of these services is run by an Aboriginal Community board and delivers health services to people in their region. Their health workers are experts in addressing the health needs of a group of Australians with third world health outcomes.
‘Each Aboriginal community needs its own community based, locally owned, culturally appropriate and adequately resourced, primary health care facility. That is our right,’ said Jill Gallagher, CEO of the Victorian Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Organisation. ‘Aboriginal and mainstream health services need to work in true partnership in order to solve the Aboriginal welfare crisis,’ Ms Gallagher added.
Close the Gap is a coalition of some of Australia’s leading health, human rights and Aboriginal organisations committed to working with Federal, State and Territory Governments to narrow the life expectancy gap between the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander population and other Australians within a generation.
For more information or to arrange an interview call Ian Woolverton on 0409 181 454