Oxfam disappointed with narrow focus of Closing the Gap report
Responding to comments made by Prime Minister Scott Morrison in relation the Closing the Gap report, Oxfam Australia Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ Program National Manager Ngarra Murray expressed her disappointment on behalf of the organisation, saying the Prime Minister focused only on new initiatives in the area of education.
Ms Murray said that, given Mr Morrison’s admission that the gap in infant mortality was widening, concerted action to improve maternal and health services across the board for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples was needed.
“With only two of the seven targets on track, state and federal governments around Australia must commit to working with First Peoples’ leaders to develop solutions from the ground up with local communities, and investing the necessary resources in these solutions,” Ms Murray said.
Although Oxfam welcomed the support from both the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten, to create a formal Council of Australian Governments partnership with First Nations Leaders, Ms Murray said “much more needs to be done to address the lack of recognition”
She welcomed the commitment on behalf of the Australian Labor Party by leader Bill Shorten to hold a referendum on establishing the Voice to Parliament in his first term of office, should his party be successful in securing power in the next election.
“Mr Shorten’s commitment to invest in Aboriginal healthcare providers is welcome, the pledge now needs to be matched with financial resources and planning.” Ms Murray said.
Oxfam Australia is a founding member of the Close the Gap Campaign, which launched in 2006. The campaign is calling on political parties to back Aboriginal community-controlled healthcare providers by unfreezing their funding, upgrading infrastructure and equipment, and expanding the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce within this network.
More information is available on their website.