The Close the Gap Campaign has welcomed the Federal and Victorian Government announcements that they will continue to fund critical Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health programs.
Campaign Co- Chair Mick Gooda has however called on those attending today’s COAG meeting to come together to forge a new agreement.
“The $1.6 billion that made up the initial National Partnership Agreement which comes to an end on June 30, has already reaped demonstrable benefits, “Mr Gooda said.
“The Campaign, along with the 200,000 Australians who have pledged their support, are hoping for the goodwill to continue well into the future.
“The 2008 COAG commitment marked a turning point in our efforts to end the health inequality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples which sees Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples die on average between 11-17 years younger than the broader population.
“The issue is well and truly on the agenda for the Australian community and we’re confident it will be on the table for discussion in some way or another at today’s crucial talks.”
The Federal Government announced $777 million for a new agreement yesterday, with the Victorian Government announcing $61 million for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.
“The Close the Gap Campaign and all Australians who find the current life expectancy inequality between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples offensive, thank the Federal and Victorian Governments for this show of goodwill,” Campaign Co-Chair Jody Broun said.
“Since 2008, all parties have shown that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health is above politics, and we’re confident that this will continue.
“We now need all Australian Governments to sit down and forge a renewed National Partnership Agreement to drive national, coordinated efforts to close the gap in Indigenous health,”she said.
“They did it in 2008; they can and should do it again and start the discussion today”.
For Mick Gooda, please contact Louise McDermott on 0419 258 597
For Jody Broun, please contact Liz Willis on 0457877408
NOTES TO EDITORS:
Clarification of the terms “Close the Gap” and ‘Closing the Gap’:
‘Close the Gap’ was adopted as the name of the human rights based campaign for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equality led by the Close the Gap Campaign Steering Committee in 2006. The term ‘closing the gap’ entered the policy lexicon as a result of Campaign’s activities and has since been used to tag COAG and Australian Government Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander policy-specific initiatives aimed at reducing disadvantage – from the COAG Closing the Gap Targets to the National Partnership
Agreement to Closing the Gap on Indigenous Health Outcomes.
As a general rule, any initiative with ‘closing the gap’ in the title is an Australian Government or COAG initiative. There is a very important difference in the meaning and intention between ‘close the gap’ and ‘closing the gap’ and it is important to note that closing the gap does not necessarily reflect the human rights-based approach of the Close the Gap Campaign, nor does the use of the term reflect an endorsement of them by the Campaign Steering Committee.
The Close the Gap Campaign Coalition:
- Ms Jody Broun, Co-chair of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples
- Mr Mick Gooda, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Australian Human Rights Commission
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 (Dr Tom Calma AO — Campaign founder and former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner); 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 (Secretariat); 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; Professor Ian Ring (expert adviser).