Thursday 3 November 2011


  Close the gap


The Close the Gap Campaign welcomes the new national voice for the health interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Campaign Co-Chair and Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda said today’s announcement that the National Health Leadership Forum (NHLF) would be the national representative voice to Governments on Indigenous health was a turning point for Indigenous peoples.

The NHLF is part of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples (Congress). It has established itself as the national body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak bodies whose core business is the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“The NHLF’s leading role will be especially crucial in helping the government to develop and ultimately implement the national comprehensive plan for achieving health equality within a generation, also announced today,” Mr Gooda said.

“We hope that the Government seizes the opportunity for change presented by these developments, and places the NHLF at the centre of the planning process.”

Mr Gooda said the Close the Gap Campaign had called for many years for Australian governments to work in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their representatives in relation to improving Indigenous health outcomes.

“We have seen many successful health partnerships at the state and Territory level but this voice at the national level has been the missing piece in the puzzle,” he said.

“The NHLF will ensure governments don’t stop at just consultation but work in true partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to improve health outcomes for Indigenous Australians.

“Today marks a new day for Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander health peaks and also provides a template for how the Congress can work with, and add value to, the development of policies and programs that impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” Mr Gooda said.

“Australian Governments have indicated that the Congress is the central mechanism for engagement and partnership with Indigenous peoples. This shows how Congress is rising to that challenge.

“The onus is now on Australian governments to partner effectively with the Congress, through mechanisms like the NHLF, into the future.”

Media contacts: Louise McDermott for Mick Gooda - 0419 258 597