The Close the Gap Campaign has called for urgent investment in First Nations health equality and the adoption of the Uluru Statement from the Heart by governments of every level.
The 2021 Close the Gap report, released today (National Close the Gap Day), has 15 recommendations for large-scale systemic reform necessary in order to avoid further preventable deaths and protect Indigenous health, wellbeing, culture and Country.
The report contains a snapshot of First Nations health and wellbeing, and also strengths-based examples of First Nations peoples, professionals and communities managing complex challenges such as climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic and suicide prevention.
“We must finish the unfinished business all Australians deserve: health equality,” said Close the Gap Campaign Co-Chairs, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar AO and National Association of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Practitioners CEO Karl Briscoe.
“During COVID-19, Aboriginal leaders moved quickly and decisively to safeguard communities. We proved again what we have always known, that programs that are designed and led by our people are the most effective way to achieve better health outcomes. We need them to be fully funded.
“Self-determination is critical and to ensure that change occurs, our voices must be heard by governments at every level of society. We need the implementation of the constitutional voice, treaty and truth-telling processes enshrined in the Uluru Statement from the Heart.”
This year’s report was produced by the Lowitja Institute, Australia’s community controlled national institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research.
The 2021 Close the Gap campaign report is available to read on the Commission’s website here