The poorer health of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples when compared to the non-Indigenous population is no secret – and something can be done about it.
Why is closing the gap so important?
Most Australians enjoy one of the highest life expectancies of any country in the world — but this is not true for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can expect to live 10–17 years less than other Australians. Babies born to Aboriginal mothers die at more than twice the rate of other Australian babies, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience higher rates of preventable illness such as heart disease, kidney disease and diabetes.
The mortality rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is on par with some of the world’s most impoverished nations. The United Nations Report, The State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (2009) indicated Australia and Nepal have the world’s worst life expectancy gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.
What is the Close The Gap campaign?
Since 2006, Australia's peak Indigenous and non-Indigenous health bodies, NGOs and human rights organisations have worked together to achieve health and life expectation equality for Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This is known as the Close the Gap Campaign.
The campaign's goal is 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 that significant improvements in the health status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples can be achieved within short time frames.
By supporting the Close The Gap campaign, we can make sure that by 2030 any Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child born in this country has the same opportunity as other Australian children to live a long, healthy and happy life.
With your support, the campaign asks for:
- The implementation and monitoring of a comprehensive National Action Plan (developed in partnership with Indigenous communities and health organisations)
- meaningful partnerships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities and health services
- improvements to Indigenous participation, control and delivery of health services
- a commitment to provide adequate and long-term financial resources including strengthening of the Indigenous health workforce
- a way to address critical social issues that impact Indigenous health (including poor housing, nutrition, employment and education)
How to take action
Sourced from Australian Human Rights Commission in Health Facts
16 Mar 2017