Oxfam Australia welcomed today’s decision by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to sign a nine point declaration of intent to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders on the final day of a three day Indigenous Health Equality Summit in Canberra. The statement of intent was drafted by Close The Gap, Australia’s largest ever campaign to close the 17-year life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
The nine point plan was signed by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in The Great Hall of Parliament and six representatives of Australia’s leading Indigenous bodies. It is a commitment between the Government of Australia and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to work together to end the health crisis affecting some Indigenous Australians by 2030 – a move warmly welcomed by Oxfam Australia.
‘The National Health Summit on Indigenous Health in Canberra this week has brought Indigenous and non-Indigenous health experts and government together, and united Australia in its call to set real targets as well as set the ball rolling on a nationwide plan to close the 17-year life expectancy gap within a generation,’ said Andrew Hewett, Executive Director of Oxfam Australia.
‘This is an excellent first step in closing the life expectancy gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and other Australians,’ said Mr Hewett. ‘We’re pleased the Rudd Government supports the declaration and encouraged by their willingness to work with Indigenous people as well as the wider community to end a health crisis that’s for too long cheated some Aboriginal people out of good health and wellbeing.’
The statement of intent commits all parties to the declaration to a nine point plan that includes:
· developing a comprehensive long-term plan of action to achieve equality of health and life expectancy between Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander and other Australians by 2030
· ensuring primary health care services and health infrastructure are capable of bridging the gap in health standards by 2018
· ensuring full participation of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples in addressing their health needs
· working together to address the social determinants that impact health equality for Indigenous Australians
That Prime Minister Rudd signed the Statement of Intent today in Canberra is testament to the success of Close The Gap, a health campaign barely one year old. It was just eleven months ago Cathy Freeman and Ian Thorpe launched Close The Gap in Sydney. Since then nearly 100,000 Australians have pledged their support, while the Council of Australian Governments issued a communiqué last December stating it would close the 17-year life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a generation.
Pledge your support of Close The Gap at www.closethegap.com.au
Download the statement of intent
Together let’s be a part of Australia’s generation that helped close the 17-year life gap between Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders and other Australians
For more information call Ian Woolverton on 0409 181 454