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Lowitja Press Release 2022

MEDIA RELEASE: 17 March 2022

Lowitja Institute CEO Adjunct Professor Janine Mohamed said the Close the Gap Campaign Report 2022 – Transforming Power: Voices for Generational Change is a blueprint for that transformation.

“The report is a beautiful and powerful call to action, showcasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led brilliance at work, in all sorts of settings, paving the way ahead as we have done as peoples over millennia,” Adjunct Professor Mohamed said. 

“It puts a spotlight on our community-led organisations and services that work tirelessly to provide equitable health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia. Now it’s time for governments and mainstream services to step up, and step back, if we are to truly close the gap in health outcomes for our peoples.”

Launched today on Close the Gap Day, this year’s report highlights how 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. 

Produced by the Lowitja Institute, the report showcases the strength of Aboriginal-led decision-making despite unprecedented health challenges from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

It focuses on themes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led transformation, gender justice and equity, and allyship – highlighting the need for trust and accountability in partnerships to enable transformative change. 

Among its key recommendations are calls for action on gender and climate justice, a national housing framework, and full implementation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart. 

“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.

“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 Close the Gap Campaign Steering Committee Co-Chair and NAATSIHWP CEO, Karl Briscoe.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Jo Cackett on communications@lowitja.org.au / 0474 727 506

See the full report: Click here

Lowitja Press Release 2021

The 12th annual Close the Gap report — Leadership and Legacy Through Crises: Keeping our Mob safe — is a wake up call to Australian governments that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have the solutions to health inequity in our grasp. Lowitja Institute CEO Dr Janine Mohamed said this year’s report showcases the outstanding leadership of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through critical health crises in 2020, particularly the coronavirus pandemic, the devastating 2019-20 bushfires and the ongoing mental health emergency facing First Nations people.

Prepared by Lowitja Institute for the Closing the Gap Campaign Steering Committee, the report was released today to mark National Close the Gap Day. Available at Lowitja.org.au/CloseTheGap

“There is no more a glowing example of our leadership than our COVID-19 rates where the number of cases among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is six times lower than the rest of Australia,” Dr Mohamed said.

“Some of our homelands — only recently threatened with closure by governments — were among the safest places in Australia,” she said.

“That is an outstanding result, not just nationally but globally where so many Indigenous communities have been devastated by the virus.

Dr Mohamed said 2020 showed that strong health outcomes can be achieved for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through strengths-based community-led action — when there is matching and continued political will to support it.

“I hope this leads to more trust and commitment to work with us,” she said.

But the past year of crises have also highlighted ongoing inequities that continue to impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing.

They include housing overcrowding and food insecurity, over-incarceration of young people and women in particular, an inequitably distributed and stretched health workforce, racism in health and emergency responses, and failure to act on the Uluru Statement from the Heart, climate and to protect sacred sites.

“The Black Lives Matter movement has put the spotlight globally on systemic racial injustices and we have also seen the growing toll of the climate crisis, amid the ongoing aftermath of the 2019-20 bushfires.”

Lowitja Institute urges Australian Governments to embrace and act on the recommendations of the 2021 Close the Gap report and to acknowledge that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have the answers.

“We must be allowed to lead, and we will only ever travel at the speed of trust,” Dr Mohamed said.

“Governments are not the solution, we as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are the solutions to governments,” she said.

Download a full PDF version of the media release HERE

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

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National Close the Gap Day 2021

Leadership and Legacy Through Crises: Keeping our Mob safe

Close the Gap Campaign Media Statement

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