Blog 4: Indigenous Disadvantage in Australia: Closing the Gap

Indigenous Disadvantage in Australia: Closing the Gap
According to the ‘Australian Human Rights Commission’, Close the Gap is a campaign for indigenous Health Equality. Since 2006 Australia’s indigenous, non-indigenous health campaigns, governments and non-government human rights organisation have all worked together to achieved higher health and life expectancy for Australians Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (ATSI). This program is known as Close the Gap Campaign. (Australian Human Rights Commission, 2017)

The aim of this campaign is to close the health gap between ATSI by 2030 through the implementation of human right-based approaches in which has been developed by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioners Social Justice Report 2005. Close the Gap Campaign was developed based on the evidence that ATSI people are one of few priority population groups in Australia in which suffer from a significant poorer health status as a whole. (Australian Human Rights Commission, 2017)

The Close the Gap Campaign held its first national day in 2007. This involved five state wide events with more than 300 community events occurring within. This has become an annual event from 2009 and continues to grow year by year as more people start recognizing the inequalities in which ATSI face. To this day the Close the Gap Campaign is known as the largest ATSI health event in Australia. (Australian Human Rights Commission, 2017)

What has been achieved so far?

• In 2008 all sides of politics together pledged their support in signing the ‘Close the Gap Statement of Intent’, after being funded of $1.6 billion
• From when the program started there has been seen improvements in infant and child health outcomes
• Reduction of smoking rates
• Increased access to medical advice and medicine uptake
• Rates of recognizing culture has increased for ATSI people
• Obtained appropriate healthcare for over 150 locations throughout urban, regional and remote Australia
• Year 12 attainment rates have increased due to equality in education opportunities
• The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023 has been implemented, identifying focus areas to invest future effort in to improving ATSI health.
• Racism levels have decreased
• Indigenous mortality rates have declined by 15% between 1998 and 2015, with the largest decline seen from circulatory disease
• Higher economic development in ATSI communities

Closing the Gap 2017 video: by Indigenous Gov Au


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