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Success stories highlighted in annual Close the Gap report

Callan Morse -

Independent, Indigenous-led campaign Close the Gap has released its annual report, which highlights successes yet suggests Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equity and justice still needs to be progressed.

The 15th annual report, titled Voyage to Voice, Treaty, Truth and Beyond details nine case studies, highlighting the work of leaders and organisations in Indigenous communities and their journeys and successes in closing the gap. 

The report maintains a strengths-based approach that centres First Nations voices, leadership and innovation under subthemes Progressing Voice, Treaty, Truth; Leadership and Governance; and Building our Economies.

Social Justice Commissioner, June Oscar said the report details the impact Indigenous peoples are having on Uluru Statement outcomes.

“The report provides insight into how First Nations leaders see and understand their roles and responsibilities, both to themselves and their communities,” Ms Oscar said

“It also clearly demonstrates that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people know what is required to create meaningful change.” 

The report showcases Blak excellence, highlighting the work of Professor Daryle Rigney and the importance of sovereign self-determination in addressing the inequalities experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

It also provides recommendations for a clear pathway to achieve the priorities of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap.

Campaign co-chair, Karl Briscoe said having First Nations peoples in the room making decisions is more important than ever. 

"Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples need representation at the highest levels of government,” Mr Briscoe said.

“They need genuine shared agreement making, bipartisanship, unity, and a shared collective vision, driven by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives and knowledges, to address the gaps in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s life outcomes. Because we know this is how we close the gap.”

The Indigenous leadership group of the Close the Gap campaign say although the referendum saw constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and a constitutionally enshrined Voice defeated, they remain committed to the underlying principles of the Uluru Statement. 

“Our Report is a testimony to both the work undertaken to build this movement and an acknowledgement of the years First Nations peoples have spent building systems to create transformative change,” they said.

Launched in 2006 to address the gap in life expectancy and other health indicators between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians, the Close the Gap campaign calls on political leaders from all levels of government to take action on health and life expectancy equity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities.

The campaign is comprised of 53 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous health, NGO and human rights organisations and is separate from Closing the Gap, which is an Australian Government strategy.

The 2024 Close the Gap report can be viewed here.

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