Life expectancy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men increased by around one and a half years over the last five years, compared to about one year for non-Indigenous men. Life expectancy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women increased by about half a year over the period, roughly the same increase as non-Indigenous women.
Life expectancy at birth for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in 2010-2012 was 69.1 years for men and 73.7 years for women, according to figures released November 15 by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
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Justin Mohamed Chair of NACCHO is reporting to the NACCHO AGM in Perth this week that the NACCHO recently commissioned Healthy for Life report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare gave a great overview of the success of ACCHOs and delivered the evidence of just how big a contribution NACCHO ‘s 150 members are making to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal people.
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“The comprehensive report showed that Aboriginal Community Controlled services provided culturally appropriate primary health care to over 310,000 Aboriginal people each year, around half the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, and we are credited with three quarters of the health gains made against the Close the Gap targets.” Mr Mohamed said.
ABS Director of Demography, Bjorn Jarvis, said “Life expectancy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men increased by around one and a half years over the last five years, compared to about one year for non-Indigenous men. Life expectancy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women increased by about half a year over the period, roughly the same increase as non-Indigenous women,”
“The figures show that the gap in life expectancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people compared to non-Indigenous people has narrowed, but only slightly,” said Mr Jarvis.
The new figures for 2010-2012 show that life expectancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men is estimated to be 10.6 years lower than non-Indigenous men, while life expectancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women is 9.5 years lower than non-Indigenous women. The gap has reduced by 0.8 years for men and 0.1 years for women over the period.
Response from the Close the Gap Campaign
Life expectancy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples still lags behind that of non-Indigenous Australians, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data released today.
Close the Gap campaign co-chair, Mick Gooda, said the small improvement disclosed in the data covers a five-year period during which Closing the Gap policies were implemented.
“The ABS data shows a small but very welcome improvement in Aboriginal and Torre Strait Islander life expectancy. However, a significant gap remains,” Mr Gooda said.
Mr Gooda, who is also the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples don’t want to the health of Australia’s First Peoples to continue to lag behind the broader community.
“When we started the Close the Gap campaign we knew this was a generational effort. We knew that reducing the life expectancy gap was achievable but would take a concerted effort. That’s why we set the 2030 target and are working with the Government and the Opposition to ensure health equality for all Australians.”
Kirstie Parker, co-chair of the Close the Gap campaign and of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, acknowledged the strong support for closing the gap from all political parties and from the wider Australian community.
“It’s heartening to see Government, Opposition and Greens support for the Close the Gap campaign, and almost 200,000 Australians have pledged their support. Closing the gap is a national priority and an area of bipartisan support that the Government can build on,” Ms Parker said.
In August, the Close the Gap campaign articulated a platform for the first 100 days of the new Government. With that anniversary fast-approaching, Ms Parker said Close the Gap will work with Government so that it:
- reports back to Parliament on the first parliamentary day of each year;
- forges an agreement through COAG for a new National Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap in Health Outcomes; and
- establishes a clear process to implement the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023.