Improving Health and well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders
The Australian Government is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians through Closing the Gap in health outcomes with the wider Australian population. In 2008 we established a framework for tackling Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage, with six ambitious targets to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.
These targets were agreed with all states and territories through the Council of Australian Governments. As part of this framework, we have provided unprecedented levels of investment, underpinned by a series of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-specific and mainstream National Partnership Agreements between the Australian, state and territory governments. This work is beginning to make a difference to the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This year’s Closing the Gap Report shows we are on track to achieve our target on under-five mortality by 2018 and we are continuing our efforts to close the gap in life expectancy.
As part of our efforts to close the gap, since 2011, the Australian Government has worked with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to produce this National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan, providing an opportunity to collaboratively set out a 10 year plan for the direction of Indigenous health policy.
No plan will succeed without a robust partnership, particularly between the Australian Government and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community organisations and their peak bodies. This Health Plan has been developed in partnership with all these groups, a partnership that has been over twelve months in the making. The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples has provided a critical role through the National Heath Leadership Forum in ensuring input and feedback into the development of this Health Plan. Partnerships require effort and commitment as we work to find common MINISTER’S FOREWORD 2 3 ground. I am very grateful for the courage and contribution that the National Health Leadership Forum and others provided in the development of this Health Plan. (ministers statement is helpful for us)
Our vision is bold – we want to close the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health inequality. In order to make a difference over the next decade there are some things that we need to continue to hold firm on. There are also new agendas that we need to embed. Finally, we need to be able to respond to new and emerging challenges. It is our community and we need to be part of it fully.