National Plan and ongoing funding needed to continue closing the gap
National Close The Gap Day 2013
On National Close The Gap Day 2013, the AMA urges all Australian governments to build on the momentum that has seen some positive results in closing the gap and achieving health equality between Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders and other Australians.
AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said that closing the gap is a national priority that requires significant long-term funding and genuine political commitment from all governments.
“The AMA calls on the Federal and State and Territory Governments to renew their policy and funding commitments to the COAG National Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health Outcomes for another five years from 2013,” Dr Hambleton said.
“This should be supported by an agreement by Australian governments, in partnership with Indigenous peoples, to develop a national strategic plan to close the gap.”
The AMA recommends a national strategic plan that sets out action for:
- the health issues most responsible for child mortality and life expectancy gaps;
- the health services needed to address those issues (including a service gap analysis, workforce and infrastructure capacity building plan, and an appropriate service delivery model);
- a funding strategy based on a 'fair share' of public health resources and access to mainstream services for Indigenous Australians;
- a mechanism for coordinating national/jurisdictional and regional plans and processes; and
- a binding commitment to a concrete and practical implementation plan.
The AMA acknowledges the achievements of the national efforts to close the gap, including:
- being on track to halve the mortality rates for children under five;
- significantly increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' access to health services for chronic disease - which underlies much of the gap in health outcomes;
- work underway in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to develop a long-term health plan; and
- meeting the target for early childhood education access in remote communities.
Dr Hambleton said that the momentum of goodwill and tangible action to close the gap must continue and grow so that we can build on these significant achievements.
21 March 2013
CONTACT: John Flannery 02 6270 5477 / 0419 494 761
Kirsty Waterford 02 6270 5464 / 0427 209 753