ARIA award winning popular singer songwriter Missy Higgins today visited Australia’s first Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service in Redfern, Sydney.
A vocal supporter of the Close The Gap campaign to narrow the 17-year life expectancy gap between Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders and other Australians, Missy met with Aboriginal health workers to gain an appreciation of the work being done by Indigenous Australians to improve their own health and wellbeing.
Missy met with Aboriginal health workers during her visit and said, ‘We hear so much about the health crisis affecting some Aboriginal communities that we forget to look beyond the headlines and to acknowledge that up and down the country Indigenous Australians are taking positive steps to improve their health, like here in Redfern.’
‘One of the problems is that Aboriginal Medical Services tend not to receive the funding required from State, Territory & Federal Government to help them take the necessary steps to narrow the 17-year life gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians,’ added Missy.
Chief Executive Officer of the Redfern Aboriginal Medical Service, Dr Naomi Mayers, an internationally recognised authority in Aboriginal Health, said she was thrilled that Missy Higgins supported Close The Gap to help improve Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander life expectancy.
‘It’s fantastic to see people like Missy Higgins standing up for Aboriginal Health because it sets a powerful example for others to support the campaign,’ said Dr Mayers.
In the early seventies the Aboriginal Medical Service in Redfern was established and pioneered the concept of Aboriginal community controlled health care to improve the heath standards in Aboriginal communities across Australia. In Redfern today Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders can access a range of services such as women’s and children’s health care as well as diabetes and heart screening. The health service also has a dental clinic, drug and alcohol unit, eye clinic, mental health service and even a chiropractor.
‘It’s a known fact that Aboriginal Medical Services are well placed to provide Aboriginal people with the care needed to improve their health,’ said Dr Mayers.
Close The Gap calls on governments at State, Territory and Federal level to commit to a plan to narrow the 17-year gap in life expectancy within a generation. This can be achieved by:
- an additional investment of at least $460 million a year to begin to meet the primary health care needs of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders
- increasing Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander control and participation in the delivery of health services
- addressing critical social issues such as housing, education and self-determination which contribute to the Indigenous health crisis
‘We want to see the 17-year gap in life expectancy closed within a generation. It is a challenge Australia can meet. It is time to close the gap,’ said Dr Mayers.
Join Missy Higgins and pledge your support of Close The Gap at www.oxfam.org.au/closethegap
For more information call Ian Woolverton on 0409 181 454