National Close the Gap day on Tuesday 18 September was celebrated at more than 300 events across the nation – in all state capitals but also as far and wide as Cooper Pedy (SA), Mt Sheridan (the Gulf in Qld), Kununurra (WA), Wagga Wagga (NSW) and Launceston (Tas).
Tom Calma (HREOC commissioner) and Dr Tamara MacKean spoke at the Don Dunstan Oration in Adelaide. In other cities the representative from state peak bodies or frontline staff from Aboriginal Controlled Health Services spoke and some fabulous musicians performed on the day including didgeridoo players William Barton and Adam Hill, the Stiff Gins, Kutcha Edwards and Lou Bennett. The events featured traditional welcomes and smoking ceremonies.
“It was the response from so many supporters, from all over Australia, who put on their own DIY events that was so impressive” said Oxfam Executive Director Andrew Hewett. “It shows that there is a tremendous groundswell of support for the aims of the Close the Gap campaign”
The events received extensive coverage from the media including on CH 10, the ABC and SBS, local radio and press in many places across the country. There was a debate on Indigenous health in the Senate on Monday in which all parties participated. A number of organisations including Reconciliation Australia issued media releases in support of the day.
Together with the 80,000 people who have signed the Close the Gap pledge the National Day demonstrated a deep commitment from the Australian public to Close the Gap.
To view photos of the events visit Flickr.