Close the Gap report shows efforts to address systemic racism overdue: Oxfam

Campaigns and Advocacy, Indigenous Affairs, Media Releases article written on the 17 Mar 2022

Commenting on the Close the Gap campaign’s 2022 report, Transforming Power: Voices for Generational Change, Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Lyn Morgain said: 

“This report is a reminder to all of us that long-term funding commitments by governments and structural change that empowers Indigenous communities will be needed if Australia is to close the health gap experienced by far too many First Peoples in this country.

“Oxfam was a founding member of the Close The Gap campaign when it launched in 2007. We believe efforts to address systemic racism in the mainstream health system are long overdue, as there is mounting anecdotal evidence that First Peoples are being denied the healthcare that non-Indigenous Australians take for granted. That’s why Oxfam fully supports the recommendation to develop a First Peoples-led research agenda with a strong focus on the impacts of systemic racism in health systems.

“The report builds on the growing body of evidence showing that Aboriginal community-controlled services are delivering better results. As the report says, ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of knowing, being and doing present culturally safe, place-based, and appropriate solutions’, and we want governments to fully support this approach.

“Finally, we urge governments at all levels to urgently act on the recommendations to address the poor quality of Aboriginal housing in Australia. Over-crowded and sub-standard housing drives a range of health problems, including the scourge of rheumatic heart disease, which is mainly borne by young children and adolescents. Better quality housing will also be needed to address the effects of climate change as communities face not only higher temperatures, but also more frequent extreme weather events.”

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Notes to Editor:

Oxfam Australia helped launch the Close the Gap campaign for Indigenous health equality in 2007 and remains one of its biggest supporters. The campaign now has the support of more than 50 Indigenous and non-Indigenous organisations and is co-chaired by June Oscar AO and Karl Briscoe. Governments around Australia responded to the campaign with ‘Closing the Gap’ policy reforms which now include initiatives to achieve progress against 16 targets.