The 10-year National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan released this morning by the Minister for Indigenous Health, Warren Snowdon, is a crucial step towards closing the gap on health inequality, the Close the Gap campaign said today.
The plan outlines state and federal government priorities in order to close the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander life expectancy gap by 2030.
Close the Gap campaign co-chair Mick Gooda welcomed the plan.
“This plan acknowledges the need for full participation by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in all levels of decision-making. We have been calling for this over many years,” Mr Gooda said.
“These are long-term issues that require a long-term plan, so we are pleased to see a ten-year focus.”
Mr Gooda, who is also the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, said the Federal Government’s commitment to consulting widely with communities is critical to the plan’s success.
Close the Gap campaign co-chair Jody Broun said federal and state governments must work in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander Peoples in their efforts to close the gap.
Ms Broun said a renewed national commitment to the National Partnership Agreement (NPA) on Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health Outcomes is a vital concurrent step.
“While the Federal Government and some state governments have pledged their commitment to the NPA, this is a national issue requiring a nationally coordinated response.
“This NPA can be seen as the fuel that will drive the Health Plan by bringing significant funds to enable its implementation and this investment is essential if we are to build on the excellent work so far,” she said.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples die more than 10 years younger than other Australians. It is imperative that we put an end to this national disgrace.
“Funding delivered through the NPA had supported an increase in Aboriginal health workers, doctors, nurses, health promotion workers and healthy lifestyle programs, and led to more affordable medicines for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”
For Jody Broun: Liz Willis 0457 877 408
For Mick Gooda: Dominic O’Grady 0419 258 597