• Close the Gap co-chair June Oscar. (Supplied)
The 2020 Closing the Gap report has called out the 'failure of the past 12 years' of governments in trying to 'close the gap' between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians in health, education and mortality.
By
Keira Jenkins

Source:
NITV News
20 Mar 2020 - 3:19 PM  UPDATED 20 Mar 2020 - 3:19 PM

Close The Gap Campaign co-chair June Oscar has urged the Federal Government to implement the recommendations set out in the 11th Closing the Gap report, released on Thursday.

Ms Oscar said the Close the Gap campaign will continue to "hold the government accountable" until the gap is closed on education, health and life expectancy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians.

"I'd like to see the recommendations in the report - there's 14 of them - being implemented," she told NITV News on Thursday.

"I'd also like to see a 10-year commitment in funding and expansion in Indigenous-led solutions. The way that this should work is government taking advice from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

"That's how we can make an impact."

The recommendations in the report also include investment in collective decision-making; Indigenous data sovereignty; investment in and recognition of Indigenous research, wellbeing methods and practices; commitment to truth-telling; and commitment to a culturally-safe healthcare system. 

Ms Oscar said the report sets out a "blueprint" for government through these recommendations, but it also highlights some of the programs and initiatives led by communities that are already achieving change.

"The report highlights strong successes from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led initiatives," she said.

"They're important to highlight because it shows that people doing this work at a community level, it is working because Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are in the driver's seat.

"But we can't overlook the inequality in health that still remains for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. 

"We need systemic reform, we can't continue to create solutions in a system that does not value our ways of thinking and our approaches.

"We need the system to change, we need the government to implement these recommendations."

The 2020 Close the Gap report was launched online with a message from Ms Oscar posted to the Close the Gap Campaign Twitter.

The Close the Gap Campaign was first launched in 2006, as a call to action for governments to address health and education inequity between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians.

Ms Oscar said more than 200,000 people have signed a pledge, supporting the Close the Gap Campaign, and that number is growing.

"People are a lot more aware about the inequality, they're asking questions about why this is the case, in a developed country like ours," she said.

"We are confident that more and more people are becoming aware and realising that it's unacceptable that the state of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people's health is the way it is."

This year, all public events to mark Close the Gap day were cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic. 

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