Co-Chairs Kirstie Parker and Mick Gooda are urging Queenslanders from all walks of life to take part in National Close the Gap Day on Thursday 19th March, calling for an end to health inequality.
Community groups, health services, schools and individuals around Australia are registering online to hold a Close the Gap event in their homes, workplaces, schools and communities.
â€œLast year, more than 150,000 people took part in over one thousand separate National Close the Gap Day events across the country,â€ said Ms Parker.
Ms Parker, who is Co-Chair of the National Congress of Australiaâ€™s First Peoples, said National Close the Gap Day is an occasion when Australians tell the nationâ€™s leaders that they want progress on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equality.
â€œThe reality is that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can expect to live â€“approximately 10 years less than non-Indigenous Australians. But there are practical steps we can take to change this,â€ Ms Parker said.
â€œWe need governments to work in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people because real and sustained engagement with our communities is one of the critical success factors.â€
Mr Gooda, who is also Social Justice Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission, said new research into the high level of undetected chronic conditions in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people demonstrates the significant impact chronic conditions have on life expectancy.
â€œWe have a real opportunity to make relatively large health and life expectancy gains in relatively short periods of time if we detect and treat these chronic conditions.
â€œThere is no room for complacency. Funding for anti-smoking initiatives must continue and we need to fund new initiatives that target chronic conditions such as diabetes, otherwise momentum will be lost,â€ Commissioner Gooda said.
The Close the Gap campaign is Australiaâ€™s biggest public movement for health equality. It is a coalition of Australiaâ€™s leading Indigenous and non-Indigenous health and human rights organisations.
National Close the Gap Day on 19 March includes events ranging from workplace morning teas, to sports days, school events and public events in hospitals and offices around the country. Anyone can take part and make a difference. Events can be registered at www.oxfam.org.au/nctgd