Australians support National Close the Gap Day
The events staged today as part of National Close the Gap Day demonstrate strong community support to turn around Indigenous disadvantage.
More than 400 events were scheduled in schools, workplaces, and community halls across Australia – including Indigenous music performances, mural painting and community open days.
The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, said today’s events demonstrated the strong commitment of many Australians to closing the gap.
“To close the gap we have set ambitious targets in health, housing, education and employment.
“But we also need to build new partnerships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians based on mutual respect and trust.”
“Close the Gap Day is a day when people can learn more about Indigenous culture and celebrate the oldest continuing cultures in human history,” Ms Macklin said.
The Minister for Health and Ageing, Nicola Roxon said equality of health was a particular focus of National Closing the Gap Day, and was a key priority for the Australian Government.
“The Government has been working hard to reduce the incidence of chronic disease within our Indigenous population – the single largest contributor to the current life expectancy gap.
“As part of the November COAG announcement, we are investing $800 million to tackle this growing problem, including $470 million to improve chronic disease management, $171 million to increase the capacity of our primary care workforce in caring for people with chronic disease and $161 million to tackle key risk factors such as smoking in Indigenous communities.
“With the advice of the National Indigenous Health Equality Council, we will work in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the broader health sector to close the gap in health outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians,” Ms Roxon said.