The Close the Gap Campaign has warned that the ongoing gap in life expectancy, health outcomes and child mortality rates for Indigenous Australians is absolutely intolerable.
The Closing the Gap report, released today, reveals the same familiar disappointing story as previous reports. Only two of the original seven Closing the Gap targets are on track to be met within their timeframes – the same two targets as last year.
Close the Gap Campaign co-Chairs, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar AO and National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker Association (NATSIHWA) CEO Karl Briscoe, have called on the government to invest urgently in health equity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
“Every year for the last 12 years we have listened to a disappointing litany of failure – it’s not good enough, Indigenous Australians deserve better,” said Close the Gap co-Chairs June Oscar and Karl Briscoe.
“We are heartened by the developments last year with COAG and the Prime Minister agreeing to a formal partnership with the Coalition of Peaks on the Closing the Gap strategy. Indigenous involvement and participation is vital – when our peoples are included in the design and delivery of services that impact their lives, the outcomes are far better.
“However, now that partnership is in place, Australian governments must commit to urgent funding of Indigenous healthcare and systemic reform.
“Preventable diseases continue to take young lives while unrelenting deaths in custody and suicide rates twice that of other Australians continue to shame us all. As governments reshape the Closing the Gap strategy, we cannot afford for the mistakes of the past to be repeated.”
The Close the Gap (CTG) Campaign was launched in 2006 to address the unacceptable gap in life expectancy and other health indicators between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians. The Campaign includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak bodies and non-Indigenous health and advocacy organisations. More than 200,000 Australians have signed a pledge supporting the Campaign.
“Equal health and education are human rights and the Close the Gap campaign will continue to hold governments to account on these issues,” said June Oscar and Karl Briscoe.