Date: 
Monday 10 February 2014

The Close the Gap Campaign has called on the Government to ensure this is the generation that ends Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health inequality.

Campaign co-chairs Kirstie Parker and Mick Gooda today released their 2014 report on Close the Gap's priorities and progress.

"We are beginning to see reductions in smoking rates and improvements in maternal and childhood health that can be expected to flow into increases in life expectancy," the report says.

"These positive outcomes provide evidence that the national effort to close the gap is working, and that generational change is possible. They provide encouragement that the gap will close by 2030 even though more time must be allowed for significant change to be seen."

The campaign co-chairs said they expect the Government to grasp the opportunity to lead on closing the gap in health equality between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.

Mr Gooda (pictured), who is also the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission, said: “This is a national effort that can achieve generational change. It is critical that Close the Gap continues as a national priority. We need to stay on track.

“All political parties and almost 200,000 Australians have committed to end the health equality gap by 2030."

“We know that empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services has broader benefits. Health services are the single biggest employer of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” said Ms Parker, who is also the Co-Chair of the National Congress of Australia's First Peoples.

"Community controlled health services create jobs as well as train people in real vocations.

"We call on the Government to renew the National Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health Outcomes (NPA) and forge ahead with implementing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan in partnership with our people.

“This is the support needed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to continue to exercise responsibility for their health.

"We can make real inroads in the national effort to close the gap if we continue to place a high priority on it."

Read the 2014 Close the Gap report.