The Foundation supports ‘Close the Gap’ Campaign Co-Chair Mick Gooda’s appeal for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health to be placed on the agenda of Friday’s Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting if there is to be any hope of closing the life expectancy gap by 2030.

“Five years ago all sides of politics agreed to do something about the national disgrace that sees Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people die more than 10 years younger than the broader Australian community,” Mick Gooda said today.

“While the 2008 COAG meeting saw federal, state and territory governments commit to long term funding for services and programs though the National Partnership Agreement, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health is absent from this Friday’s COAG meeting agenda.

“We know that the policies and programs resulting from these 2008 COAG commitments are starting to bear fruit and make a real difference on the ground, for example, mortality rates for under five year old Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are falling,” he said.

“But the life expectancy gap remains just as unacceptable today as it was back then and I know that most of those attending COAG this Friday agree with me.”

The National Partnership Agreement, which has driven efforts to close the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes, is set to expire at the end of June 2013. Despite Federal Government indications that it will continue funding its share of the Agreement, State and Territory governments have not yet signed up to the Agreement leaving some services and programs in real doubt as to whether they can continue to provide badly needed services beyond 30 June.

The Foundation supports calls for a recommitment to closing the gap from all levels of government at this Friday’s COAG meeting being hosted in Canberra.