Journey continues to close the gap

A report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare highlights that while progress is being made, there is still a long way to go to close the gap in Indigenous life expectancy.

Page last updated: 05 September 2014

PDF printable version of Journey continues to close the gap (PDF 302 KB)

5 September 2014

A report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare highlights that while progress is being made, there is still a long way to go to close the gap in Indigenous life expectancy, the Assistant Minister for Health, Fiona Nash said today.

Visiting the South West Aboriginal Medical Service (SWAMS) in Bunbury (WA), Minister Nash welcomed the report’s finding that life expectancy at birth for Indigenous males and females had increased, and mortality rates for some chronic diseases had declined significantly.

Minister Nash acknowledged the important role the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector has played in contributing to the improvements in health outcomes.

“I am pleased there have been some improvements, such as a reduction in smoking rates, a reduction in infant deaths, as well as notable improvements in mortality rates from circulatory and respiratory diseases and a slight improvement in life expectancy,” she said.

“However, it is clear that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians still experience poorer health outcomes at higher rates and younger ages than non-Indigenous Australians.

“So despite progress in some areas, a significant journey remains to close the gap. It is through continued efforts of services such as SWAMS and through collaborative partnerships at all levels that progress to address inequities in health outcomes can be achieved.”

Minister Nash said the Coalition Government was investing $3.1 billion between 2014-15 years to 2017-18 in Indigenous specific health programmes and activities.

“This is an increase of over $500 million compared to the period 2009-10 to 2012-13. Importantly, we are expanding programmes that target our most vulnerable populations, such as Indigenous mothers and babies.

“The Better Start to Life, for example, is a key programme which will receive a $94 million injection over three years. This includes $54 million to establish 51 additional New Directions sites to ensure more Indigenous children can access effective child and maternal health services.

“A further $40 million will be invested to expand the evidence-base Australian Nurse Family Partnership Programme from three to 13 sites around Australia to provide targeted support to Indigenous families with high needs.”

For a copy of the report, please go to the AIHW website.

Media contact: Greg Doolan, 0433 345 323

View by date:

Top of Page