Historic opportunity for COAG leaders to renew the Closing the Gap Agreement

Campaigns and Advocacy, Indigenous Affairs article written on the 19 Apr 2013

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