2016 will be the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Close the Gap campaign.
In the last ten years the Close the Gap campaign has transformed the social and political landscape around Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health in Australia.
More than 200,000 Australians have raised concern and called for action on this important issue. These efforts have put Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equality at the centre of the political agenda and has kept it there for many years.
In the past 10 years we have seen
- The signing of the Statement of Intent committing government and opposition to close the health and life expectancy gap by 2030, to adopt equality targets, and undertake equality focused health planning in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
- The COAG National Indigenous Reform Agreement containing six Closing the Gap Targets, including the 2030 life expectancy equality target, and the target to halve child mortality by 2018 and a $1.6B committment.
- The establishment of the National Health Leadership Forum (NHLF) comprising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak health bodies on the Campaign.
- The launch of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan, and the subsequent launch of its implementation plan.
- A significant 16 per cent decline in the mortality rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and a 15 per cent narrowing of the gap with non-Indigenous people between 1998 and 2013.
- A 40% decline in the circulatory disease mortality rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples between 1998 and 2012.
But the ten-year anniversary is not a time to rest. Take the Pledge to Close the Gap so that our generation can be the one to close the life expectancy gap.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples still live, on average 10 - 11 years less than non-Indigenous Australians. Disease rates are more prevalent and death rates higher. In 2016 First Peoples are also still more likely to be at risk for, and die from cardio vascular disease, diabetes and kidney disease.
There remains the need for tremendous effort and resources if we are to Close this Gap by 2030.
What is needed to close the gap
- Increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ access to health services and removing institutional racism from the health care setting
- Prioritising funding to the health models and services outlined in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Implementation Plan
- Committing to Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations as a preferred model
- Addressing critical social issues such as poor housing, nutrition, employment and education; and
- Promoting real and meaningful partnerships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous communities and health services.
We need 250K signatures to keep up the pressure
In 2016 we want to send a strong message that a quarter of a million Australians believe that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Eqaulity is a national issue that requires a long term nationally co-ordinated approach. We can't let the momentum slip at this pivotal moment in the history of this generational campaign.
We have 3 months to reach 250K - become a Close the Gap champion and help us get there - email campaigns(at)antar.org.au.
Be part of the generation that closes this gap forever