Friday 29 June 2012

Close the gap 

COAG Reform Council findings released today, reinforce the importance of long term commitments in closing the health inequality gap, says the Close the Gap Campaign.

The campaign Co-Chairs say the report shows small improvements in areas like child mortality show progress towards health equality.

"That Aboriginal child death rates have decreased is welcome news, however that rate is still more than double that of non-Aboriginal children," said Co-Chair, Jody Broun.

“This report supports the need for early childhood programs as they provide strong basis for better health and education right through life.

"This situation needs to improve and this report shows that long-term commitments must be backed up with a comprehensive plan of action that is need- and evidence-based.

"There is no room for short-term-ism here," she said.

Co-Chair Mick Gooda said if the life expectancy gap is to close by 2030, inequities faced by Indigenous people in accessing preventative and primary health care needed to be addressed.

"It is essential that the current process to develop a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan ensures that such a plan builds the capacity of the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector, and better harnesses mainstream health services,” Mr Gooda said.

"The long term effort must continue with sustained action on both sides - both from government and from our people.

"The gap will not be closed with the pace at which things are currently progressing,” he said.

“Progress is patchy, and in most cases indiscernible. The progress of the education targets is nowhere near as promising as for health.

"The COAG Reform Council reporting process is fundamentally important in monitoring our progress to close the gap. What’s noted in the report is the data needs to be better. We need quality data to know how governments are tracking.

“Now what’s needed is for both sides to keep their commitments.

“Let’s hope we see real results in next year's report using current census data,” he said.

Media contact: 

  • Liz Willis 0457 877 408 (Jody Broun)
  • Louise McDermott 0419 258 597 (Mick Gooda)

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