National Close the Gap Day 2023


As co-Chairs of the Close the Gap Campaign, we represent 52 First Nations and mainstream organisations who—since 2006—have come together as allies to advocate for greater investment and changed ways of working to enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equity and equality to become a reality.

Since then, 16 years have passed. Political and policy instability prevented the Closing the Gap targets from being met and our leaders called for reform. We have always advocated that that systemic change is necessary, if we as a nation, were going to create genuine health equity and equality for our peoples.

In response to the continued health and socio-economic disparities between Indigenous and non-indigenous Australians, the federal government developed the New National Partnership Agreement. This Agreement acknowledges the central role that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership must play if we, as a nation, are serious about addressing health equity and equality for all Australians.

On all the metrics that matter, education, justice, climate change and the social and cultural determinants of health – to name a few – there is no overarching mechanism, framework or holistic policy initiative that advocates for our specific rights and needs Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.  

We have numerous strategies at the federal and state level, decade’s worth of reports, and generations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership – but since colonisation, we as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have not had the national and structural reforms that we know are necessary for the cultural, political, social, and emotional wellbeing of our communities.  

We rely on the goodwill of the Government of the Day and the unwavering strength, tenacity, determination, and oftentimes-exhausting effort of our leaders to advocate for our communities.  

But more than that, we ask our youth, our up-and-coming leaders to work the same political and policy environments to drive the change they know is necessary for our peoples’. For some of our youth, they have lived in a political and policy environment where Close the Gap and the Closing the Gap Strategy have always existed. For others it came into existence when they were on the cusp of adulthood.

When we started this journey – the future generations we were trying to change the world for – are now teens heading into young adulthood.

Today, those same children, those same youth use their voice to call for the same changes this Campaign called for 16 years ago. They know, just as we did when this Campaign started, that our future- their future – must be forged through strength, leadership and cultural revitalisation. 

Not content to sit back, they have followed in the steps of those before them. They call out injustice, they drive reform and always, they give back to our communities.

They are the pride of their families and the hope for our future, not just for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people but for our entire nation. Their work, is not just a cultural obligation to country, community and culture, it’s the pathway to a better nation for all of us. Our ancestors paved the way and our youth build on that legacy.

Today, as we release our 14th report, we are proud and honoured to shine a light on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth who have dedicated their time and energy to create the kind of society that moves our nation forward.

It is our hope that our youth will read this report, see themselves reflected in this work and know that their dreams, their visions and hopes for their future is being paved right now.

That across this country, we see you. We see your drive, determination and care of and for community and culture; and we take refuge knowing that our future is in your hands and your future is bright.

March 2023

National Close the Gap Campaign – Co-Chairs

 June Oscar AO – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner – Australian Human Rights Commission 

Karl Briscoe – CEO – National Association of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Practitioners

See the full report: Click here

More to explore

Be a Voice for Generations

Over two decades ago our leaders stood together asking us to imagine a more just, equitable and reconciled nation. And today, we