Thursday 18 April 2013

The federal government has this morning announced $777 million towards a renewed National Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health Outcomes for a further three years.

The announcement comes on the same day that an open letter from Close the Gap Campaign Patron and 2012 Human Rights Medal winner Ian Thorpe appears on page five of the Australian newspaper.

Read Ian Thorpe’s letter here:

The announcement also comes a day after the Close the Gap Campaign called for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health to be placed on tomorrow’s COAG agenda.

Campaign Co-Chair and Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda yesterday said the 2008 COAG meeting which saw federal, state and territory governments commit to long term funding for services and programs though the National Partnership Agreement, has already started to bear fruit and make a real difference with mortality rates for under five-year-old Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children falling, for example.

“But the life expectancy gap remains just as unacceptable today as it was back then and I know that most of those attending COAG this Friday agree with me,” he said.

The National Partnership Agreement which has driven efforts to close the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes is set to expire at the end of June 2013.

Despite today’s announcement by the Federal Government, state and territory governments have not yet come on board with the NPA leaving some services and programs in real doubt as to whether they can continue to provide badly needed services beyond 30 June.

Campaign Co Chair Jody Broun said governments of all persuasions owed it to the rest of the country to maintain their efforts to close the life expectancy gap by 2030.

“A recommitment from state, territory and federal governments at this Friday’s COAG meeting is needed to quite literally save lives.”