The Close the Gap campaign says three crucial commitments this year will make or break the achievement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander health equality by 2030.
Social Justice Commissioner, Mick Gooda said this year is the juncture of three developments that together will give a strong indication if this target can be met.
“This year will see not only a Federal Election and the implementation of a new National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan but also the need for all governments – including states and territories – to recommit to the National Partnership Agreement (NPA) on Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health Outcomes,” he said
“We need solid assurances from all parties that this funding – already providing tangible outcomes – will continue.
“This year’s Prime Minister’s report on Closing the Gap comes amidst some promising signs of improvements in Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander health – a key focus of the Close the Gap Campaign, made up of Australia’s peak health and human rights bodies, which today publishes a ‘Shadow Report’ on the government’s progress to close the gap.
The campaign welcomed specific gains including:
–the target to halve the mortality rates for children under five appears to be on track
–significant increase in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples accessing health services for chronic disease – which is the basis of the significant gap in health outcomes
–the work already underway to develop a long term health plan in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
–meeting the target for early childhood education access in remote communities
“Closing the Gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and life expectancy is a multi-decade commitment that will span policy cycles, funding agreements and governments. The Prime Minster noted the enormous challenges of meeting the life expectancy target. But, the nation expects commitments to be maintained and crucial investment to continue, until we close the gap,” said Commissioner Gooda.
Congress Co-Chair Jody Broun said implementing a new National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan is vital for the long term outlook.
“Implementing the plan must see a recommitment to the $1.57 billion Health National Partnership Agreement, which underpins all of the programs and services provided by Government and our own community-controlled organisations.
“The multiparty support shown through the Close the Gap Statement of Intent provides the basis for ongoing efforts and investment from all of all parties which must be continued over the long term,” she said.
Read the Close the Gap Steering Committee’s Shadow Report at: oxfam.org.au/closethegap or humanrights.gov.au
Mick Gooda, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, and Jody Broun, Co-Chair, National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples Co- Chair the Close the Gap Steering Committee. Committee members are:
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation; Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association; Australian Indigenous Psychologists’ Association; Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses; Indigenous Allied Health Australia Inc.; Indigenous Dentists’ Association of Australia; National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation; National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers’ Association; National Association of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Physiotherapists; National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples; National Coordinator – Tackling Indigenous Smoking ; National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee; The Lowitja Institute; Torres Strait Island Regional Authority; Australian College of Nursing; Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council; ANTaR; Australian Human Rights Commission; Australian Medical Association; Australian Medicare Local Alliance; The Fred Hollows Foundation; Heart Foundation Australia; Menzies School of Health Research; Oxfam Australia; Palliative Care Australia; Royal Australasian College of Physicians; Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
Contact: Neeta Mairata 0417 957 525 (for Commissioner Gooda)
Liz Willis: 0457 877 408 (for Co-Chair Broun)