New Closing the Gap Agreement a self-determined step forward

The Consumers Health Forum welcomes the new National Agreement on Closing the Gap,  a significant step forward that has been determined by and for Australia’s First Nations Peoples.

“It differs from the previous agreement because it was developed in close consultation and negotiation with the Coalition of Peaks and agreed to by them,” the CEO of the Consumers Health Forum, Leanne Wells, said.

“In contrast to the indifferent  Closing the Gap health outcomes over more than a decade, we believe that giving people more say over the design and delivery of health and other services is much more likely to yield the results that people seek and need. 

“As the document itself states, ‘This Agreement also stems from the belief that when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a genuine say in the design and delivery of services that affect them, better life outcomes are achieved. It recognises that structural change in the way Governments work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is needed to close the gap.”

“As CHF has often urged in health care, shared decision making is the key – on design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programs to improve life outcomes.

“We hope that this will generate real will in Australia for implementation of a voice for Aboriginal people through Uluru Statement of the Heart.

“The four key outcomes identified are the game changers – a more whole of life, whole of community approach:

  • Shared decision-making and partnerships
  • Building the community-controlled sector with sustained capacity-building and investment to deliver Closing the Gap services and programs across the board
  • The transformation of Government organisations
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership in the sharing and use of data

“There are measurable  targets looking at both  the ways Government changes its approach to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,  and socio-economic targets which focus on the outcomes experienced --- how people’s lives are affected and what improvements  they can see .

“It is important to look at the ‘how’ as well as the ‘what’ to show that there has been a shift and that the  spirit  of partnership and self- determination  has been carried over into implementation

“There are 16 socio-economic targets covering all aspects of life, including health, education, employment, housing and justice with the aim of ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people enjoy long and healthy lives. The emphasis on ensuring children are healthy and thriving and have the opportunity to reach their potential is vital.

“Progress against all these targets will be monitored and reported. This is a a beginning --- implementation will be key moving forward,” Ms Wells said.  




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Jenna Gray

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