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AASW supports Close the Gap Progress and Priorities Report

Published: 11 February 2016

The recommendations in the Close the Gap Campaign Steering Committee’s Progress and Priorities report will contribute to the overall goal to close the gap in the life expectancy, educational achievement and employment opportunities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, AASW National President, Professor Karen Healy, said today.

“While there are still areas of serious concern where progress has been slow, such as closing the gap for life expectancy, activities like better health care, which are being implemented now, do take time to have an impact on the overall life expectancy figures,” Professor Healy said.

She agrees with Associate Professor Tom Calma, Co-Chair of Reconciliation Australia, that Closing the Gap is a generational target, and what is needed is a consistent policy approach and funding, and for ministers to stay focused and committed.

“In an election year it is especially important for all political parties to recommit both financially and from a policy perspective to Closing the Gap,” said Professor Healy.

She added that it was also important that Indigenous people continue to lead the process and Dr Jackie Higgins, Co-Chair of the Close the Gap Steering Committee, reinforced this when she presented to the AASW’s National Symposium in November 2015.

On the issue of ongoing racism identified in the report, Professor Healy said, “Racism needs to be more consistently addressed from a systemic point of view or it will put a brake on progress in other areas. In this context, the call for a national inquiry into institutional racism in health care undertaken by a Senate Select Committee on Health makes great sense.”

To organise an interview with Professor Karen Healy please contact Emma Pegrum, Media and Marketing Manager, on 02 6199 5011 or 0408 200 191.

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers