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Close the Gap: Indigenous Health Campaign

Aboriginal Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice
Angelina and baby

Close the Gap: Indigenous Health Campaign

Australia's peak Indigenous and non-Indigenous health bodies, NGOs and human rights organisations are working together to achieve equality in health and life expectancy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The Close the Gap Campaign aims to close the health and life expectancy gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians within a generation. The campaign is built on evidence that shows significant improvements in the health status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples can be achieved by 2030.

In February 2018 we released the Close the Gap: 10 Year Review. The review examines why Australian governments have not succeeded in closing the health gap, and why they will not succeed by 2030 if the current course continues.

Our objectives

We aim to close the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health gap. We want to do this by implementing a human rights based approach to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

In 2007, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) set measurable targets to track and assess developments in the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. These targets include achieving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equality within a generation and halving the mortality rate gap for children under five years old within a decade.

In March 2008, the then Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd and the Opposition Leader at that time, Brendan Nelson, signed the Close the Gap Statement of Intent at the Close the Gap Campaign’s National Indigenous Health Equality Summit.

The Close the Gap Statement of Intent is the touchstone of the Close the Gap campaign. When the Australian Government signed the Statement of Intent it committed to a sound, evidence-based path to achieving health equality, a path supported by the entire Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector.

The Close the Gap Statement of Intent includes a commitment to:

  • Develop a comprehensive, long-term plan of action, that is targeted to need, evidence-based and capable of addressing the existing inequalities in health services, in order to achieve equality of health status and life expectancy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non- Indigenous Australians by 2030.
  • Ensure the full participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their representative bodies in all aspects of addressing their health needs.

Who are we?

The Close the Gap Campaign Steering Committee first met in March 2006. Our patrons, Catherine Freeman OAM and lan Thorpe OAM, launched the Campaign in April 2007. To date, almost 200,000 Australians have formally pledged their support.

The members of the Close the Gap Campaign Steering Committee are:

Co-Chairs

  • June Oscar AO, Commissioner of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice
  • Mr Rod Little Co-Chair for the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples

Members

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation
  • Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of New South Wales
  • Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association
  • Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia
  • ANTaR
  • Australian College of Midwives
  • Australian College of Nursing
  • Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine
  • Australian Human Rights Commission (Secretariat)
  • Australian Indigenous Doctors' Association
  • Australian Indigenous Psychologists’ Association
  • Australian Medical Association
  • Australian Physiotherapy Association
  • Australian Student and Novice Nurse Association
  • beyondblue
  • Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives
  • CRANAplus
  • Expert Adviser – alcohol and other drugs (Pat Dudgeon)
  • Expert Adviser – epidemiology and public health (Ian Ring)
  • Expert Adviser – mental health and social and emotional wellbeing (National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership in Mental Health) (Ted Wilkes)
  • First Peoples Disability Network
  • Healing Foundation
  • Heart Foundation Australia
  • Indigenous Allied Health Australia
  • Indigenous Dentists' Association of Australia
  • Indigenous Eye Health Unit (University of Melbourne)
  • Kidney Health Australia
  • Menzies School of Health Research
  • National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers' Association
  • National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation
  • National Association of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Physiotherapists
  • National Congress of Australia's First Peoples
  • National Coordinator – Tackling Indigenous Smoking (Dr Tom Calma AO – Campaign founder and former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner)
  • National Heart Foundation of Australia
  • NSW Aboriginal Land Council
  • Oxfam Australia
  • Palliative Care Australia
  • PHILE Network
  • Public Health Association of Australia
  • Reconciliation Australia
  • Royal Australasian College of Physicians
  • Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
  • The Fred Hollows Foundation
  • The Lowitja Institute
  • The Pharmacy Guild of Australia
  • Torres Strait Regional Authority
  • Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation
  • Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service

Close the Gap Reports

In 2009, the then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd committed to making an annual report to Parliament on progress on closing the gap. Every year, the Close the Gap Steering Committee publishes a report that details the Australian Government's progress in closing the gap.

Get involved! Close the Gap Day - 21 March

The Close the Gap campaign has achieved a lot amount since its launch in 2006, but we need continued support from all corners of the Australian community to make it a success.
Get involved and help consign Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health inequality to the history books.

Each year, National Close the Gap Day is acknowledged in workplaces, hospitals, schools and communities around Australia. Anyone can take part and make a difference. Join with over 220,000 other Australians and pledge your support to the ‘close the gap’

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