The ability to improve shocking Aboriginal life expectancy rates is at risk while COAG delays discussions on the National Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health Outcomes, said the peak Aboriginal health organisation today.
Justin Mohamed, Chair of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) the national authority in comprehensive health care, said COAG must include the Agreement on the agenda for Friday’s meeting.
Please note :How can you ask your state Premier or territory Chief Minister to support Close the Gap SEE LINK BELOW
“To close the gap in life expectancy of 17 years was the core commitment of the Australian Government and Opposition in the Close the Gap Statement of Intent.” Mr Mohamed said.
“Five years ago all state and territory governments also signed up to the Close the Gap statement of intent which would see this appalling statistic reduced by 2030
“Since then we have made some advances and invested in Aboriginal community controlled health services (ACCHO,s)which is starting to have an impact.
“But we can’t stop now. Aboriginal health is not a quick fix – it requires a long-term commitment by all levels of government.
“We must continue to build on the great work being done by the 150 Aboriginal community controlled health services around the country that are making inroads in our communities and making a real difference to their health.
“ACCHO’s are best placed to provide culturally appropriate primary health care and need support to continue and expand their service delivery.
“COAG must make the National Partnership Agreement a priority at Friday’s meeting”
Mr Mohamed said many quality and effective programs were at risk if COAG delayed any longer.
“It is unacceptable that Aboriginal people who rely on health programs funded through the agreement don’t know if they will still be there come July,” Mr Mohammed said.
NACCHO is calling on COAG to show continued commitment to the Close the GAP agreement
How can you ask your state Premier or territory Chief Minister to support Close the Gap?
Write a letter with this template
The commitment to close the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people by 2030 was a watershed moment for the nation.
All Australian governments have committed to this important national priority through the COAG process and the National Indigenous Reform Agreement. The development of the Closing the Gap policy platform to back up this commitment set the foundations to meet this generational target. Thank you for your government’s commitment to this national priority.
More than 185,000 Australians, have signed the close the gap pledge and last year alone more than 130,000 Australians attended 850 events on National Close the Gap Day. In a country as wealthy as Australia, it is unacceptable that a baby born to an Indigenous mother can expect to live between 10 and 17 years less than a baby born to a non-Indigenous mother, or die before the age of four at between two and three times the rate of non-Indigenous children.
That is why I believe that now is the time to build on the foundations in place and continue the necessary investment to close the gap.
I therefore ask that you publicly commit to renewing investment in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equality through:
– Committing to invest in the renewal of the National Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health Outcomes which expires on June 30, with your state funding maintained at least at the level allocated to the current Agreement
– Committing to invest in the delivery of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan due for completion later this year
This year the number of National Close the Gap Day (March 21st) events has again grown to over 900 right around Australia; these events show continuing and growing support for the goal of closing the life expectancy gap by 2030. The message at these events was that it is critical to continue to invest in closing the gap programs.
I trust that you and your government will continue to play your part in this national effort and look forward to your response to my letter.