In March 2008, the Australian Government and Opposition committed to the Close the Gap Campaign’s blueprint for closing the health equality gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians – the Close the Gap Statement of Intent.
In April 2008, the Australian Government committed to providing an annual report to Parliament on progress towards closing the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non- Indigenous Australians. Each year the Campaign Steering Committee provides a complementary ‘shadow’ report representing its assessment of the Australian Government’s progress against its commitments to achieving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equality. This is the Campaign Steering Committee’s fourth shadow report.
In November 2008, the Australian Government announced almost five billion dollars in National Partnership Agreements including the $1.57 billion Indigenous Health NPA to back up its commitments with an active program for achieving health equality.
The Indigenous Health NPA provides the ‘fuel’ (the funding) that drives the national effort to achieve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equality by 2030. Its renewal is essential to the implementation of the Health Plan.
Part one of this report assesses progress against the COAG Closing the Gap Targets for health equality. It maintains a focus on evaluating the implementation of the Close the Gap Statement of Intent commitments (particularly in relation to partnership and the ongoing development of the Health Plan). As a part of this it examines the renewal of the Indigenous Health NPA.
Part two examines developments in relation to partnership and planning. The development of the Health Plan is underway. It is essential that the Health Plan be developed in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their representative bodies including the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector.