With just under three weeks to go until the National Close the Gap Day, Oxfam is urging Australians from across the nation to get involved and register an event.
Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Dr Helen Szoke said the Close the Gap campaign aimed to get a record number of Australians to participate in events on Thursday, 17 March.
“Last year 150,000 people took part in 1,600 Close the Gap day events – and so far this year we’ve got 600 registered from around the country – so we’re on track for a great turnout this year,” Dr Szoke said.
“Community groups, health services, businesses, schools, universities, government offices and individuals from all states and territories are registering online. They’re organising a vast range of events, from workplace morning teas and sports days to school events and public events in hospitals and offices.”
Dr Szoke said this year’s National Close the Gap Day would be historic, marking 10 years of the nation’s largest public movement for health equality.
“It will be a celebration of all the work our community has done to come together in solidarity over the past decade to hold our nation’s leaders to account to achieve health equality between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians by 2030,” said Dr Szoke.
Oxfam is part of the Close the Gap coalition — a group of more than 40 Indigenous and non-Indigenous health and community organisations.
“The tens of thousands of supporters of this campaign acknowledge that equal access to healthcare is a basic human right that we should fight for,” said Dr Szoke.
She said it was unacceptable that in this day and age, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can expect to live 10 to 17 years less than non-Indigenous Australians.
“We know positive change is happening, including improvements in infant and child health, but there’s still a long way to go to achieve health equality,” Dr Szoke said.
Dr Szoke said it was vital that more people register to be involved on National Close The Gap Day because the actions of everyday Australians could create lasting change.
“We need your support to ensure all political parties at a state, territory and federal level take real, measurable action – this means making Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing a major funding priority prior to the federal election.”
“We encourage everyone to get involved in this special Close the Gap Day anniversary by simply hosting an activity in your community to raise awareness and demand action. All you need to do is get online and sign up and there are a range of tools to help you make your event a success.”
Register now at: www.oxfam.org.au/closethegap
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