For more than a decade, Australians have shown their support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equity by marking National Close the Gap Day.

The annual event is acknowledged on the third Thursday in March, with schools, businesses and community groups organising activities to help make a difference.

This year’s National Close the Gap Day takes place on Thursday 21 March.

Newcastle Anglican Director of Reconciliation Aunty Di Langham said there needed to be a shift towards long-term planning in order to deliver better outcomes for Aboriginal people.

“The Closing the Gap reports are made to guide the government to assess and make recommendations as to how to adjust policy to ‘close the gap’ between Indigenous peoples and the wider community.

The policies that have been used and promoted are not working. The latest report shows the following outcomes:

Life expectancynot on track but improving
Imprisonment ratenot on track, worsening
Youth detentionnot on track, no change
Child protectionnot on track, worsening
Suicide ratesnot on track, worsening
Land and Sea rightsstill on track
Indigenous languagesno new data

Laws have to change. How governments do their business has to change for Aboriginal people, so that our voices can be heard. We have statistics that are shameful, but we are not addressing the causes. Transgenerational trauma, lack of a positive identity, poverty and social justice issues are not being addressed.

I believe the government has to stop band-aid, short-term solutions to fix the statistics but rather have a whole change of thinking and doing that involves long-term planning. That will only happen when we are given the opportunity to be part of the solution.”

Stay Connected

Sign up for our newsletter to stay informed and up-to-date.