Close the Gap (2022)
Transforming Power: Voices for Generational Change
Close The Gap Campaign Report 2022
Report prepared by the Lowitja Institute for the Close The Gap Steering Committee
We would like to start by acknowledging the 55 members who form the Close the Gap Steering Committee and the Lowitja Institute for producing the 2022 Close the Gap Campaign Report.
This year’s report, Transforming Power – Voices for Generational Change, is a small collection of the hundreds of stories that catalogue the success of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led initiatives.
We know that to improve the outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, large-scale systemic reform and a paradigm shift in policy design and delivery is necessary to truly empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
In recognition of this, this report’s recommendations mirror those of previous years. It has again utilised a strengths-based framework to demonstrate how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of knowing, being and doing present culturally safe, place-based, and appropriate solutions.
We are facing unprecedented times in global history, and our mob and our allies have done extraordinary work in keeping our communities safe and COVID free for much of this pandemic. From the Aboriginal Medical Services and remote health care workers, to individuals who have followed government health advice, we have all played a part in keeping our families and mobs safe.
But our shared commitment, our collective effort to care and shelter one another, is all the more pressing because we know the consequences of inaction. We understand how a pandemic such as this can have devastating effects for those who endure poor living conditions, with limited access to health care and living in overcrowded housing.
To adequately address the extreme but preventable inequalities that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience, we must first draw on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s knowledge and expertise.
This report highlights in no uncertain terms what we already know.
Initiatives that recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership, that provide genuine opportunities for decision making, and strengthen and embed cultures, do and will lead to positive sustainable improvements in health and wellbeings.
If we as a nation are committed to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equity and equality, then we must also be committed to the recommendations in this report.
Transformation, allyship and gender justice and equality are the key themes, but they are not just catch phrases. They are integral components of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s ability to exercise power, agency and responsibility. This is the living expression of self-determination.
For us, self-determination is not just an abstract idea that we talk about in a rightsbased framework, it is the primary mechanism that enables us to take control of our lives; to determine the outcomes of our futures; to make heard the voices of those in our communities – those who are the most vulnerable and marginalised.
This is how we and our communities transform, by elevating and empowering all of our voices.
On the release of the 13th annual Close the Gap Report, we ask you to engage with the stories, to hear our voices, to see the work carried out by our communities and in our communities, to witness the strength of our determination to see a better future for ourselves and our children.
As we continue to endure the effects of this worldwide pandemic – to those of you who work tirelessly, seen and unseen, big and small, to uplift our families and communities, we thank you.
As always, a key priority of the campaign and this report is to give space, extend opportunity and create platforms for our voices to be heard.
This is our narrative, and these are our stories.
Finally, as co-chairs, we would like to thank the wider Australian public and the 55 Close the Gap Campaign members for their contribution to this work and for their ongoing support and commitment to better health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Ms June Oscar AO
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social
Mr Karl Briscoe
CEO, National Association of Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers
and Practitioners (NAATSIHWP)
Co-Chairs – Close the Gap Campaign