CTG Campaign Media Releases

Latest CTG News

2022

April 2022

Media release

22/23 Federal Budget

The Close the Gap Campaign acknowledges the increasing cost of living pressures for all Australians and welcomes the interim assistance provided in the Budget announcements.

Furthermore, as a Campaign, we welcome increased funding which is designed to extend already existing programs such as the Red Dust Program and the Indigenous Rangers Program.  However, it is disappointing that there is no security of funding and only limited dedicated funding to Australia’s most marginalised communities in areas that currently affect their day-to-day living.

Housing, justice re-investment, and investment in renewable energies are all policy areas that if invested in appropriately, could make significant gains around the 4 Priority Reform Areas including the 17 Closing the Gap Targets. These Priorities and Target areas require urgent and appropriate investment, if we are to genuinely make progress across the Close the Gap Targets.

We acknowledge the previously announced investment for the new National Health Plan (2021-2031) and support the focus for Indigenous led initiatives that provide culturally safe spaces for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to access services.

However, there are no more socially-economically disadvantaged groups than Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, especially in remote communities where cost of living is exuberant and essential services are already stretched.

In recognition of this, the Campaign reiterates that in order to truly Close the Gap, Government must provide targeted and sustainable funding to sectors dedicated to Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The 22/23 budget, put simply, maintains what is currently in place and we know that current levels of funding for core services are severely lacking.

Transformative change, bold policy initiatives and structural reform are not generally pursued in tight fiscal environments, as sentiments for risk aversion always dominate policy and funding. But in order to genuinely address the health equity and equality of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s, transformative change is what our communities need and deserve.

The work and services that ACCHOs provide to our communities, is possible only through our own innovation, agility and responsiveness. As we continue the work to create transformative change, we, in true partnership, call on Government to provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services and providers with the appropriate financial support to continue this important work.

Co-Chairs

June Oscar AO – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, AHRC

Karl Briscoe, CEO, NAATSIHWP

It’s time to transform power and systems to close the gap for the next generation

MEDIA RELEASE: 17 March 2022 

Today the Close the Gap Campaign calls on Australian governments to embrace genuine partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to collectively close the gap in health outcomes for the next generation.

“We need transformation of minds to have transformation of systems,” said June Oscar AO, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, and Co-Chair for the Close the Gap Campaign Steering Committee.

Launched today on 17 March Close the Gap Day, this year’s campaign report produced by the Lowitja Institute, highlights that despite unprecedented health challenges from the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are leading the way in transforming health and community services, policies and programs, with foundations of culture and Country at the centre.

“This year’s report demonstrates that health equity can be achieved when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples lead the way through good practice based on Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing,” said Commissioner Oscar.

The Close the Gap Campaign Report 2022: Transforming Power: Voices for Generational Change focuses on themes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led transformation, gender justice and equity, and allyship – the need for trust and accountability in partnerships to enable transformative change.

“It’s time to recognise a need for large-scale systemic reform and a paradigm shift in policy design and delivery if we want to improve outcomes in health and wellbeing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” said campaign co-chair Karl Briscoe.

“We have the mechanisms to lead reform through the National Agreement on Closing the Gap by ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership guides implementation. Through allyship and trust, we can commit to making a difference for the next generation.”

– Karl Briscoe, Co-Chair for Close the Gap Campaign Steering Committee, and CEO for National Association of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Practitioners (NAATSIHWP)

ENDS/

For media queries and/or to arrange an interview with Commissioner June Oscar and Mr Karl Briscoe, Co-Chairs for the Close the Gap Campaign Steering Committee, please contact:

Australian Human Rights Commission

Public Engagement Team

Email: media@humanrights.gov.au
Phone: 0457 281 897 

For more information and to read the Close the Gap Campaign Report 2022 go to: antar.org.au/close-gap

Close the Gap Campaign Report 2022 – Recommendations

Structural reform

We call on governments to: 

  1. Fully implement the Uluru Statement from the Heart, including a constitutionally enshrined Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament.
  2. Fully implement the 2020 National Agreement on Closing the Gap, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2021–2031 and other supporting plans, with a commitment to long term (10+ years) needs-based and coordinated cross-sectional funding by federal, state, territory and local governments.
  3. Invest in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led data development at the local level and uphold the principles of Data Governance and Sovereignty by following through on commitments to communities and individuals to access place-based data to design community-driven initiatives.
  4. Develop an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led research agenda for health and wellbeing, with a particular focus on the impacts of systemic racism in health systems. This should include an investment in knowledge translation and research impact.

Innovation driven by cultural intellect and cultural safety 

We call on governments to: 

  1. Establish and support empowerment and leadership forums for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young peoples at national, state and territory and local levels, to provide them with the opportunity to engage in decision-making processes for policies, programs and services. These forums should privilege and honour the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young peoples and support strengths-based, place-based social and emotional wellbeing initiatives.
  2. Invest in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce development to support the growth of the community controlled sector and community-led service delivery solutions. This will support and strengthen the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce Strategic Framework and Implementation Plan 2021–2031. Support for community-driven, holistic approaches to health and wellbeing policies, programs and services is essential to increase access to health care by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  3. Develop a comprehensive National Action Plan which outlines the full implementation of recommendations from the landmark Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women’s Voices): Securing Our Rights, Securing Our Future This plan should provide a holistic national framework that identifies and addresses the complex needs and intersectional issues that are specific to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.
  4. In partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, evaluate and report on the effectiveness of policy and programs for the prevention of violence against women. Results should be incorporated into reporting activity conducted by the Productivity Commission on progress against Close the Gap targets. The development of a new National Plan to Reduce Violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women and their Children should also be prioritised.
  5. Support strong Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership in the development and implementation of community-designed primary prevention strategies addressing violence against women and their children. This should include the establishment of multi-disciplinary primary prevention networks and workforce across all states and territories.

Empowering communities to improve health and wellbeing through equal access

We call on governments to: 

  1. Develop a whole-of-government national housing strategy or framework that delivers appropriate housing and strategies to reduce overcrowding, poor housing conditions and severe housing shortages in remote communities. Housing and infrastructure planning should include:
  2. a) adaptable strategies to mitigate the unique challenges for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, particularly in remote communities
  3. b) embedded Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural knowledge and conservation and land management practices
  4. c) investment in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led research into housing and infrastructure needs, including knowledge translation and research impact
  5. d) leadership by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through the establishment of a national peak body.
  6. Invest in IT infrastructure for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to ensure equal access to the internet, regardless of location for an individual or community. This is essential to ensuring equitable access to health, education and income support services and programs, and to being able to realise the objectives of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2021–2031 to improve access to telehealth, digital health, data collection and other technologies.
  7. Achieve true energy and climate justice by effectively responding to the climate emergency and the extreme heat and other weather events resulting from climate change in remote communities. Governments must invest in mitigation, prevention and adaptation planning for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

2021

The Close the Gap Campaign has called for urgent investment in First Nations health equality and the adoption of the Uluru Statement from the Heart by governments of every level.

The 2021 Close the Gap report, released today (National Close the Gap Day), has 15 recommendations for large-scale systemic reform necessary in order to avoid further preventable deaths and protect Indigenous health, wellbeing, culture and Country.

The report contains a snapshot of First Nations health and wellbeing, and also strengths-based examples of First Nations peoples, professionals and communities managing complex challenges such as climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic and suicide prevention.

“We must finish the unfinished business all Australians deserve: health equality,” 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.

“During COVID-19, Aboriginal leaders moved quickly and decisively to safeguard communities. We proved again what we have always known, that programs that are designed and led by our people are the most effective way to achieve better health outcomes. We need them to be fully funded.

“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.”

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 on the Commission’s website here

You can read more about the Close the Gap Campaign on the ANTaR website at https://closethegap.org.au/ or by following #CloseTheGap @closethegapOZ.

Notes for editors:

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.

The Close the Gap (CTG) Campaign was launched in 2006 to address the unacceptable gap in life expectancy and other health indicators between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians.

The Campaign is made up of 54 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous health and advocacy organisations. 

2020

The Close the Gap Campaign has warned that the ongoing gap in life expectancy, health outcomes and child mortality rates for Indigenous Australians is absolutely intolerable.

The Closing the Gap report, released today, reveals the same familiar disappointing story as previous reports. Only two of the original seven Closing the Gap targets are on track to be met within their timeframes – the same two targets as last year.

Close the Gap Campaign co-Chairs, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar AO and National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker Association (NATSIHWA) CEO Karl Briscoe, have called on the government to invest urgently in health equity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“Every year for the last 12 years we have listened to a disappointing litany of failure – it’s not good enough, Indigenous Australians deserve better,” said Close the Gap co-Chairs June Oscar and Karl Briscoe.

“We are heartened by the developments last year with COAG and the Prime Minister agreeing to a formal partnership with the Coalition of Peaks on the Closing the Gap strategy. Indigenous involvement and participation is vital – when our peoples are included in the design and delivery of services that impact their lives, the outcomes are far better.

“However, now that partnership is in place, Australian governments must commit to urgent funding of Indigenous healthcare and systemic reform.

“Preventable diseases continue to take young lives while unrelenting deaths in custody and suicide rates twice that of other Australians continue to shame us all. As governments reshape the Closing the Gap strategy, we cannot afford for the mistakes of the past to be repeated.“

The Close the Gap (CTG) Campaign was launched in 2006 to address the unacceptable gap in life expectancy and other health indicators between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians. The Campaign includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak bodies and non-Indigenous health and advocacy organisations. More than 200,000 Australians have signed a pledge supporting the Campaign.

“Equal health and education are human rights and the Close the Gap campaign will continue to hold governments to account on these issues,” said June Oscar and Karl Briscoe.

We invite members of the public, schools and organisations to support the Close the gap campaign and or donate.

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Close the Gap Campaign Media Statement

The Close the Gap Campaign has warned that the ongoing gap in life expectancy