National Close the GAP Day – 16th March 2023

Close the Gap Day – CLOSE THE GAP

Since 2005 the Close the Gap Campaign has grown

The Close the Gap campaign arose in response to Professor Tom Calma’s Social Justice Report (2005 ) which challenged governments to bring about health equality within a generation.

In Australia, Aboriginal infants die more often than non-Indigenous infants, Aboriginal people’s life expectancy is shorter, with more than double the rate of illness. For example, Australia has failed to eliminate preventable blindness and rheumatic heart disease, shameful outcomes for one of the wealthiest countries in the world.

The Steering Committee first met in March 2006. Their campaign was launched in April 2007 by patrons Catherine Freeman OAM and Ian Thorpe OAM. In 2007 the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) set measurable targets to track and assess developments in the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. These targets included achieving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equality within a generation and halving the mortality rate gap for children under five years old within a decade.

National Apology to Australia’s Indigenous peoples

In February 2008, in his Apology to Australia’s Indigenous peoples, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd pledged the government would attempt to  bridge the gap between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australian health, education and living conditions, in a way that respects their rights to self-determination.

He also proposed to establish a commission to “close the gap” between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in “life expectancy, educational achievement and economic opportunity”.

On 20 March 2008, about a month Rudd and then Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson, signed the Close the Gap Statement of Intent at the Close the Gap Campaign’s National Indigenous Health Equality Summit. The Statement of Intent committed the government to:

  • Develop a comprehensive, long-term plan of action, targeted to need, evidence-based and capable of addressing the existing inequalities in health services, in order to achieve equality of health status and life expectancy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians by 2030.
  • Ensure the full participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their representative bodies in all aspects of addressing their health needs.

The Statement of Intent became the point of reference for the Close the Gap Campaign.


Support a Voice to Parliament

A First Nations Voice to Parliament protected by the Constitution is a key element of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

Speaking at the Garma Festival, Prime Minister Albanese put forward a possible referendum question: “Do you support an alteration to the Constitution that establishes an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice?” 

“Do you support an alteration to the Constitution that establishes an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice?”

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