Close the Gap - Part 2 Outcomes from the National
Indigenous Health Equality
The Close the Gap Statement of Intent
Canberra, March 20, 2008
Our challenge for the future is to embrace a new partnership between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. The core of this partnership for the future is closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians on life expectancy, educational achievement and employment opportunities. This new partnership on closing the gap will set concrete targets for the future: within a decade to halve the widening gap in literacy, numeracy and employment outcomes and opportunities for Indigenous children, within a decade to halve the appalling gap in infant mortality rates between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children and, within a generation, to close the equally appalling 17-year life gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous when it comes to overall life expectancy.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Apology to Australia’s Indigenous Peoples,
13 February 2008
This is a statement of intent – between the Government of Australia and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples of Australia, supported by non-Indigenous Australians and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous health organizations – to work together to achieve equality in health status and life expectancy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians by the year 2030.
We share a determination to close the fundamental divide between the health outcomes and life expectancy of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia and non-Indigenous Australians.
We are committed to ensuring that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have equal life chances to all other Australians.
We are committed to working towards ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have access to health services that are equal in standard to those enjoyed by other Australians, and enjoy living conditions that support their social, emotional and cultural well-being.
We recognise that specific measures are needed to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ access to health services. Crucial to ensuring equal access to health services is ensuring that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are actively involved in the design, delivery, and control of these services.
Accordingly we commit:
To developing a comprehensive, long-term plan of action, that is targeted to need, evidence-based and capable of addressing the existing inequities in health services, in order to achieve equality of health status and life expectancy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non- Indigenous Australians by 2030.
To ensuring primary health care services and health infrastructure for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples which are capable of bridging thegap in health standards by 2018.
To ensuring the full participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their representative bodies in all aspects of addressing their health needs.
To working collectively to systematically address the social determinants that impact on achieving health equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
To building on the evidence base and supporting what works in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, and relevant international experience.
To supporting and developing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled health services in urban, rural and remote areas in order to achieve lasting improvements in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing.
To achieving improved access to, and outcomes from, mainstream services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
To respect and promote the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, including by ensuring that health services are available, appropriate, accessible, affordable, and of good quality.
To measure, monitor, and report on our joint efforts, in accordance with benchmarks and targets, to ensure that we are progressively realising our shared ambitions.
- Representative of the Australian Government
- National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation
- Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses
- Australian Indigenous Doctors Association
- Indigenous Dentists Association of Australia
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner,
Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission
On a separate sheet, the following signed this Statement of Intent: the Hon. Dr Brendan Nelson MP, Leader of the Opposition; Dr Rosanna Capolingua, President, Australian Medical Association; Ms Kate Carnell, Chief Executive Officer, Australian General Practice Network; Dr Vasantha Preetham, President, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners; Professor Napier Thomson, President, Royal Australasian College of Physicians; Mr Andrew Hewett, Executive Director, Oxfam Australia; Professor Michael Dodson, AM, Co-Chair, Reconciliation Australia; Ed Cooper, Get Up!; Gary Highland, National Director, Australians for Native Title
and Reconciliation; Catherine Freeman, Catherine Freeman Foundation; Ian Thorpe, Ian Thorpe’s Fountain for Youth; and Mr Andrew Schwartz, President, Australian Doctors Trained Overseas Association.