National Close the Gap Day

“Today marks ten years since the Close the Gap Campaign Steering Committee was formed to address the unacceptable gap in health and life expectancy outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous people in Australia”, said Ms Jan Barham, Greens NSW spokesperson for Aboriginal Affairs.

“The Close the Gap Campaign aims to close the life expectancy gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by 2030. However, there remains much to do, with the latest Close the Gap Report showing that life expectancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is still around ten years less than that of non-Indigenous people.”

“The latest report shows that Close the Gap indicators must be broadened to include incarceration rates to ensure that a more holistic approach is taken to achieve equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

“The Parliament recently supported my motion calling on the Premier to implement a NSW Close the Gap Strategy for New South Wales to collect meaningful data on incarceration rates, community safety, child removal and disability-related issues. It’s critical that this Strategy is localised so that Indigenous disadvantage can be addressed in all regions and communities across the State, and inform government programs and funding.”

The 2016 Report made clear that Australia must renew efforts to Close the Gap, stating:

“We can and want to be the generation that closes the gap but we must stay the course and keep our attention and resources focused on this goal. The health gap has rightfully been described as a stain on our nation, and this generation has the opportunity and responsibility to remove it.”[1]

More than 1,500 events have been registered to mark National Close the Gap Day today, and 220,000 people have called on governments to take action to achieve health and life expectancy equality for Indigenous people by 2030.

“I congratulate the Close the Gap Steering Committee, its members, supporters of the campaign as well as all organisations that are working with Indigenous communities to eliminate health and life expectancy inequality by 2030.”

For further comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0447 853 891

Jan’s motion calling for a NSW Close the Gap Strategy: http://bit.ly/1nPD6ej

The Close the Gap Steering Committee Progress and Priorities report 2016: http://bit.ly/1Q7MozF

[1] The Close the Gap Steering Committee Progress and Priorities report 2016: https://www.humanrights.gov.au/our-work/aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-social-justice/publications/close-gap-progress p.2