Skip to main content

Close the Gap - Part 1 Background

Close the Gap - Part 1
Background

Recommendations of the Social Justice Report 2005

The following recommendations were made in the Social Justice Report 2005:

Recommendation 1

A commitment to achieve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equality

That the governments of Australia commit to achieving equality of health status and life
expectation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous people
within 25 years.

Recommendation 2

Supporting commitments and processes to achieve equality of health status

  1. That the governments of Australia commit to achieving equality of access to
    primary health care and health infrastructure within 10 years for Aboriginal and
    Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  2. That benchmarks and targets for achieving equality of health status and life
    expectation be negotiated, with the full participation of Aboriginal and Torres
    Strait Islander peoples, and committed to by all Australian governments. Such
    benchmarks and targets should be based on the indicators set out in the Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage Framework and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework. They should be made at the
    national, state/ territory and regional levels and account for regional variations
    in health status. Data collection processes should also be improved to enable
    adequate reporting on a disaggregated basis, in accordance with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework.
  3. That resources available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, through
    mainstream and Indigenous specific services, be increased to levels that match
    need in communities and to the level necessary to achieve the benchmarks,
    targets and goals set out above. Arrangements to pool funding should be made
    with states and territories matching additional funding contributions from the
    federal government.
  4. The goal and aims of the National Strategic Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health be incorporated into the operation of Indigenous
    Coordination Centres and the new arrangements for Indigenous affairs. This
    includes through reliance on the outcomes of regional planning processes under
    the Aboriginal Health Forums.

Recommendation 3

Endorsement of this commitment by all Australian Parliaments

That the Australian Health Minister’s Conference agree a National Commitment to achieve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Equality and that bi-partisan support for this
commitment be sought in federal Parliament and in all state and territory parliaments.

This commitment should:

  • acknowledge the existing inequality of health status enjoyed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
  • acknowledge that this constitutes a threat to the survival of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, their languages and cultures, and does not provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with the ability to live safe, healthy lives in full human dignity;
  • confirm the commitment of all governments to the National Strategic Framework and the National Aboriginal Health Strategy as providing over-arching guidance for addressing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health inequality;
  • commit all governments to a program of action to redress this inequality, which aims to ensure equality of opportunity in the provision of primary health care services and health infrastructure within ten years;
  • note that such a commitment requires partnerships and shared responsibility between all levels of government, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities, non-government organisations and the private sector;
  • acknowledge that additional, special measures will be necessary into the medium term to achieve this commitment;
  • acknowledge that significant advances have been made, particularly in levels of resourcing, since 1995 to address this situation;
  • commit to celebrate and support the success of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in addressing health inequality;
  • accept the holistic definition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and the importance of Aboriginal community controlled health services in achieving lasting improvements in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health status;
  • commit to engage the full participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in all aspects of addressing their health needs;
  • commit to continue to work to achieve improved access to mainstream services, alongside continued support for community controlled health services in urban as well as rural and remote areas; and
  • acknowledge that achieving such equality will contribute to the reconciliation process.

The full text of chapter 2 of the report can be found at: www.humanrights.gov.au/social_justice/sj_report/sjreport05/chap2.html