Close the Gap – Our Health, Our Voice, Our Choice
National Close the Gap Day
Taking action to achieve health equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
Australia is home to the oldest continuously surviving culture on Earth.
Banok Rind, Registered Nurse: We work in these manmade buildings, but beneath these manmade buildings lies more than 60,000 years’ worth of traditions and culture that is well and truly alive today. We are here, we are proud, and we are strong.
We still have not achieved health equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can expect to live approximately 10 years less than other Australians (AIHW, 2018)
The burden of disease is 2.3 times the rate of non-Indigenous people (AIHW, 2016)
In 2012-13, the potentially preventable hopsitalisation rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was 3.4 times the rate than for non-Indigenous people (AIHW, 2015).
How can we close the gap?
Dr Zena Burgess, RACGP CEO: I think absolutely the most significant thing is we were the first medical college in Australia, even the world, to have an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Faculty and that was a unanimous decision by Council, received with great enthusiasm.
The Faculty have gone from strength to strength and we have 9000 members in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Faculty.
I think the next thing we did that was significant, that I was involved with, was the Reconciliation Action Plan, which was a big community consultation with Aboriginal people and staff at the College and we are very proud of the product we produced in the first plan.
But that’s only the beginning, and it’s a journey we are all on together.
Mary Lin, RACGP Victoria: It’s definitely everybody’s responsibility – at work, talking to friends, in our day-to-day lives. It’s not just one day Close the Gap Day, its everyday Close the Gap, every day.
Join more than 200,000 Australians and pledge support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander health equality by 2030.
The RACGP supports the Close the Gap Campaign. Visit racgp.org.au/closethegap
The Close the Gap Campaign aims to achieve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equality by 2030.
The Close the Gap Campaign launched in 2006, when Tom Calma, the then Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, released his report highlighting the appalling gap in life expectancy and health standards in Australia.
He then called on a number of Aboriginal, health and human rights organisations to join together in a coalition to form the Close the Gap Campaign.
In 2008, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and opposition leader Brendan Nelson signed the Close the Gap Statement of Intent, committing future federal governments to work towards closing the gap.
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.
Join the RACGP in demanding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equality by signing the petition to Close the Gap.
SIGN THE PETITION TO CLOSE THE GAP
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.
“Our Choices, Our Voices” – Close the Gap Campaign report 2019
In the past, the Close the Gap Campaign has prepared an annual ‘Shadow Report’ including a ten-year review published in 2018. The review assessed the most significant national effort to date to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health—the 2008 Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) Closing the Gap Strategy—with its target to achieve life expectancy equality by 2030.
In 2019, the Campaign has taken taking a different approach to its annual report. After identifying urgent priority themes for addressing the health gap, the report highlights stories that illustrate success from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives.
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 (NCTGD) is a national day of action to pledge support for achieving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health equality by 2030.
National Close the Gap Day is an opportunity to bring people together, to raise awareness and take meaningful action in support of achieving change.
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.