Joint Media Release with Minister for Rural Health Senator the Hon. Fiona Nash
Today is National Close the Gap Day – a time to acknowledge all the work being done to close the gap in Indigenous life expectancy within a generation while recognising the continued need to work together to achieve better health outcomes.
The Minister for Rural Health, Fiona Nash, and the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, said today the Prime Minister’s Closing the Gap report, released in February, highlighted the extent of the challenge ahead if these outcomes were to be achieved.
The report revealed that although Indigenous mortality rates have declined by 16 per cent since 1998, we are still not on track to close the gap. Average male life expectancy will need to increase by almost 21 years for males and 16 years for females if we are to close the gap.
“Although we have achieved a significant reduction in child mortality and chronic disease mortality, we acknowledge we have much to do,” Minister Nash said.
“We believe that a significant foundation stone has been laid with the launch of the Implementation Plan to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan in 2015, a long-term plan built in partnership between Indigenous health leaders and the Government.”
Minister Scullion said the Government, through the Indigenous Advancement Strategy, was firmly focused on three key priorities that were fundamental to addressing Indigenous disadvantage: getting children to school, adults to work and making communities safe.
“Making progress in these areas will help to address Indigenous disadvantage in other areas – including health outcomes,” Minister Scullion said.