Pollies commit to close gap


Frank Alban with Jenny Gillett and Daniel Rojas. Picture: Joe Powers
Frank Alban with Jenny Gillett and Daniel Rojas. Picture: Joe Powers

The MPs’ handprints joined those of politicians across all parties to show support for ending health inequality, which results in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people dying 10-17 years earlier than other Australians.

The March 17 event was a way for all Australians to join together and commit to closing the life expectancy gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.

Oxfam Australia WA campaign co-ordinator Paddy Cullen said indigenous Australians needed to be consulted, empowered, resourced and supported to address the health issues facing their communities.

“To achieve indigenous health equality, we need every politician to get involved in genuine long-term partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” he said.

“This symbolic act is a step in encouraging practical outcomes.

“Showing support on National Close the Gap Day sends a powerful message to governments that Australians will not accept the fact that indigenous Australians suffer illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes at far greater rates than other Australians.

“Key to achieving health equality is putting Aboriginal people at the centre of their own development and in control of the services in their communities.”

Mr Cullen said governments needed to implement the National Action Plan launched last year, to close the gap on indigenous health inequality.