Close the Gap: action on health will lead change

Campaigns and Advocacy, Indigenous Affairs, Media Releases article written on the 12 Feb 2014

The Close the Gap Campaign has called on the Government to continue to prioritise and drive action to ensure this is the generation that ends Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health inequality.

“We expect the Government to wholeheartedly grasp the opportunity to lead on closing the gap in health equality between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians,” said Close the Gap Campaign co-chairs Mick Gooda and Kirstie Parker.

Today, the Close the Gap Campaign releases its progress and priorities report which coincides with the Prime Minister’s release of the Government’s own closing the gap report.

“We are just starting to see reductions in smoking rates and improvements in maternal and childhood health. We need to build on these successes,” said Mick Gooda, who is also the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission.

“This is a national effort that can achieve generational change. It is critical that Close the Gap continues as a national priority. We need to stay on track.

“All political parties and almost 200,000 Australians have committed to end the health equality gap by 2030.

“The Prime Minister’s closing the gap report released today continues the bipartisan tradition of reporting publicly on progress to achieving health equality by 2030,” Mr Gooda said.

“We know that empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services has broader benefits. Health services are the single biggest employer of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” said Ms Parker, who is also the Co-Chair of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples.

“Community controlled health services create jobs as well as train people in real vocations.

“We call on the Government to renew the National Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health Outcomes (NPA) and forge ahead with implementing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan in partnership with our people.

“This is the support needed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to continue to exercise responsibility for their health.

“We can make real inroads in the national effort to close the gap if we continue to place a high priority on it.”