William Barton & Tyrone Noonan join forces for National Close the Gap Day

Campaigns and Advocacy, Media Releases article written on the 31 Aug 2007

Internationally acclaimed didgeridoo player and composer William Barton and co-lead singer of Brisbane’s multi-platinum selling Australian jazz/rock/pop combo, George, now turned soloist, Tyrone Noonan, will join this week to sign the Giant Pledge supporting ‘Close the Gap’ – a major national effort to end the health crisis facing Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

Representatives of Oxfam will take the Pledge to the duo in Queen’s Park Gardens in Brisbane (corner George and Elizabeth Sts), where a National Close the Gap Day Event will be staged on Tuesday 18 September. The city’s office workers are being urged to commit their lunch hour on September 18 to join in marking the national day – which will focus on the theme of ‘black and white together for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health’.

Close the Gap is a coalition 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 and Torres Strait Islander population and other Australians within a generation.

Being good friends with thriving musical careers, Tyrone and William often find it hard to meet up, but are glad to be able to do so to promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equity, a cause close to both of their hearts. Tyrone Noonan recently returned from a successful showcase in with gigs in such places as the famous Viper Room and William from an extensive Outback Tour.

The coming together of Noonan and Barton, underlines one of the central themes of the Close the Gap National Day, which will be joining together of black and white Australians to send this important message to Federal and State governments.

Statistics showed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are dying on average 17 years younger than other Australians, with alarming rates in infant mortality and highly disproportionate rates of preventable and chronic diseases. These statistics in many cases place Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders on a par with developing countries such as and.

Comparing these figures to other developed nations, Oxfam and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation released a report entitled ‘Close The Gap:  Solutions to the Indigenous Health Crisis facing’.

The ‘Close the Gap’ Pledge was officially launched in Sydney’s Telstra Stadium on the April 4th by former Olympic champions Catherine Freeman and Ian Thorpe, drawing attention to the major turnaround within the space of less than 25 years in our Olympic Games performance – from no gold medals at Montreal in 1976 to a record medal haul in Sydney 2000.

Oxfam is an Australian, secular, not-for-profit, community-based overseas aid and development organisation that has worked for 30 years in Indigenous Australia through its Indigenous Australia Program.

Oxfam’s Queensland community campaigns coordinator Ann Matson said anyone could join in National Close the Gap Day at Queen’s Gardens Park – or find out how to organise their own 15 minute Close the Gap Day event  by registering at www.oxfam.org.au/national-day

For further information: Ann Matson – 07-3637 4615 / 0409 641 721 or annmatson@oxfam.org.au