Health, education inequality in spotlight on National Close Gap Day

Event reaffirms University’s commitment to campaign

The University of Wollongong has commemorated National Close the Gap Day (Thursday 21 March) by reaffirming its commitment to work with Indigenous communities in the region on forging better health outcomes.

Twelve years after the campaign was launched, National Close the Gap Day continues to place the spotlight on the disparity between non-Indigenous and Indigenous people in regards to health, education, employment, and social justice.

UOW Graduate Medicine, the Indigenous Health Unit, and Woolyungah Indigenous Centre hosted a special event focused on the theme of “Strength, Collaboration and Resilience”.

National Close the Gap Day brought together staff, students, Aboriginal community members and people from the Illawarra community on McKinnon Lawn for a Welcome to Country, BBQ lunch and live music. It reaffirmed the University’s commitment to the campaign and highlighted the need for everyone to work together to address the inequality.

UOW Graduate Medicine partners with Aboriginal communities throughout the Illawarra and Shoalhaven, providing students with a vital insight into the concerns affecting these communities.

Associate Professor Peter Malouf, Academic Leader, Indigenous Health in the School of Medicine, said Close the Gap was an important campaign that raised awareness about the work that needed to be done in bridging the education, social, and health divide between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

“Indigenous staff across the University have joined together at today’s Close the Gap event to acknowledge the concerted effort that our local community-controlled services and community members have achieved in narrowing the gap in child mortality, early education and year 12 attainment rates,” Professor Malouf said.

“We know that our local Aboriginal services and programs are doing their best, but they need to be better funded to continue community-led solutions to close the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a generation by 2023.”

Close the Gap is a government strategy that aims to reduce disadvantage among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It is focused on addressing issues related to life expectancy, child mortality, access to early childhood education, educational achievement, and employment outcomes.

The campaign aims to level the playing field, ensuring that by 2030, any Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child born in Australia has the same opportunity as non-Indigenous children to live a long, healthy life.

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