Close the Gap

National Close the Gap Day - 21 March 2019


The national campaign for health equality in a generation

The Close the Gap Campaign for Indigenous Health Equality is a highly regarded movement that has shaped governments’ Closing the Gap policy. It is led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and supported by mainstream health and advocacy organisations from across Australia.

The Close the Gap Campaign spearheaded the development of the Close the Gap: Indigenous Health Equality Summit - Statement of Intent, signed by leaders of both sides of government, committing to closing the health equality gap by 2030.

The RACGP is a member of the Close the Gap Campaign Steering Committee.

What is the aim?

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.

The campaign aims to close this health gap and achieve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equality within a generation.

Close the Gap is a multi-decade commitment that spans policy cycles, funding agreements and governments. The Campaign Steering Committee places great significance on securing multi-party support for its aims.

What is the difference between Close the Gap and Closing the Gap?

To help you better understand the difference between the Close the Gap Campaign and the Government Strategy Closing the Gap, the Close the Gap Steering Committee developed a new resource. You can access this here.

Close the Gap: 10 Year Review

Ten years after the commencement of Closing the Gap, the Close the Gap Campaign released a report in 2018 - A ten-year Review of the Closing the Gap Strategy and Recommendations for Reset.

It represents a comprehensive review on the last 10 years of Closing the Gap efforts, critical reflection on why Australian governments have not yet succeeded in closing the health gap to date and clear recommendations to re-direct efforts towards achieving our goal of health equality.  

Read the Campaign’s report here.

What is the Campaign asking for?

The right to access health care in the location of choice

  • The outcomes are better when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are in control of their own health.
  • Community-controlled health services are holistic, appropriate and accessible.
  • Primary health care and prevention must be culturally safe to avoid hospital admissions and premature deaths.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be able to access the care they need, provided by a doctor they trust, close to where they live.
  • Long-term primary health care service delivery strategies must be informed by the evidence base supporting where services are needed most.

A healthcare system that responds to health needs

  • Mainstream health services need to do more to be culturally safe, accessible and responsive.
  • All health care workers need the right training to deliver culturally safe health care.
  • More Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are needed in the health workforce.
  • Institutional racism across the health system must be identified, measured and ameliorated.

Good housing for good health

  • Overcrowded, unsafe and inadequate housing creates health problems.
  • Healthy housing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities will help to close the gap in life expectancy and health outcomes.
  • Consistent investment in safe and affordable housing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is needed by all Australian governments.

Join the RACGP in demanding Indigenous health equality by signing the petition to Close the Gap.

SIGN THE PETITION TO CLOSE THE GAP

What can you do to help Close the Gap?

The profession of general practice plays an important role in tackling Close the Gap outcomes, primarily through the delivery of high quality preventative, culturally responsive healthcare.

By virtue of your role in delivering comprehensive, whole person, patient centred care, general practitioners are well positioned to respond to the health needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.

Additionally, they can positively influence local environments through the use of advocacy and leadership skills, whether that be in the practice, community, health service, outreach clinic, hospital or political setting.

National Close the Gap Day

National Close the Gap Day is an opportunity to bring people together, to raise awareness and take meaningful action in support of achieving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equality by 2030.

On National Close the Gap Day, the RACGP encourages you to run a national Close the Gap Day activity or support a local Close the Gap event.

For registration, resources and information, visit the ANTaR website.

On National Close the Gap Day on 15 March 2018, the RACGP hosted Aboriginal nurse, Ms Banok Rind.

You can view Ms Rind’s speech here. The RACGP acknowledges Oxfam Australia and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet for materials in this video.