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Fred Hollows Foundation backs key reforms to Closing The Gap process

Giovanni Torre -

The Fred Hollows Foundation has thrown its support behind the new Productivity Commission report warning that the Closing the Gap National Agreement will fail without fundamental changes.

The Agreement seeks to deliver on four priority reforms - shared decision-making, building the community-controlled sector, transforming government organisations and sharing access to data – none of which are being met.

The Foundation noted that review highlights the fact "business as usual" is not working and a shift to more genuine partnership and community control is vital for ensuring real outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

Foundation CEO Ian Wishart said The Foundation supports the recommendations of the report to rethink mainstream government systems and culture, share power, support Indigenous data sovereignty and implement stronger accountability mechanisms.

"Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are three times more likely than other Australians to be blind or vision impaired and greater community control is vital for progress on this and all health inequities," Mr Wishart said.

"Fred believed in genuine partnership and active community involvement to address the health inequities faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

"The Productivity Commission's Report highlights the urgent need for this and The Foundation urges the government to adopt this fair approach."

Mr Wishart said partnering "meaningfully" with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, shifting decision making powers and supporting community control will "support the transformation of systems and policies for lasting improvements".

"The Fred Hollows Foundation acknowledges the steps taken across the four Closing the Gap target areas. However, we know that Australia can and must do better," he said.

"We call on government and organisations to reflect on the way they do business, explore what good practice and allyship means to them, and take measurable action to achieving equity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia."

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