National Close the Gap day report makes 15 recommendations for systematic reform
The 2021 Close the Gap report, released today (National Close the Gap Day), has made 15 recommendations for large-scale systemic reform necessary in order to avoid further preventable deaths and protect Indigenous health, wellbeing, culture and Country.
Readers should be aware that the Close the Gap campaign is an independent, Indigenous-led campaign that calls on political leaders from all levels of government to take action on health and education equity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
It is separate to Closing the Gap, which is a government strategy.
Included in the 15 recommendations is an underpinning theme of self determination, and a clearly voiced expectation that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of knowing, being and doing will be respected and understood.
“The time for governments to deliver has long passed,” authors note. “This report again presents our solutions. We invite our readers to connect with the strengths-based examples of our peoples, professionals and communities managing the most complex of challenges.”
The report contains a snapshot of First Nations health and wellbeing, as well as strengths based examples of First Nations peoples, professionals and communities who are managing complex challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic, and speaks to progress made against the July 2020 National Agreement on Closing the Gap, implemented with the intention of changing the way governments work to improve the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through shared decision making.
In the Closing the Gap agreement, early childhood education features as one of five policy areas of note (clause 38), as well as being mentioned in clauses 50 and 51 with reference to sector strengthening plans for Aboriginal community controlled organisations working in early childhood care and development and a focus on:
- strengthening workforce
- capital infrastructure
- service provision and governance.
“Self-determination is critical and to ensure that change occurs, our voices must be heard by governments at every level of society. We need the implementation of the constitutional voice, treaty and truth-telling processes enshrined in the Uluru Statement from the Heart,” said Close the Gap Campaign Co-Chairs, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar AO and National Association of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Practitioners CEO Karl Briscoe.
This year’s report was produced by the Lowitja Institute, Australia’s community controlled national institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research.
The 2021 Close the Gap campaign report is available to read here. Learn more about the Close the Gap Campaign on the ANTaR website at https://antar.org.au/close-gap or by following #CloseTheGap @closethegapOZ.