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
You can read more about the Close the Gap Campaign on the ANTaR website at https://antar.org.au/close-gap or by following #CloseTheGap @closethegapOZ.
Notes for editors:
The Close the Gap campaign is an independent, Indigenous-led campaign that calls on political leaders from all levels of government to take action on health and education equity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
It is separate to Closing the Gap, which is a government strategy.
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 is made up of 54 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous health and advocacy organisations.