Caritas calls on parties to act on Indigenous health

Caritas Australia has urged Australia's political leaders to work to close the 17 year gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Caritas Indigenous Program Group Leader Jo Thompson described the gap as a “national disgrace”.

“Governments at all levels have neglected the issue for too long,” Ms Thompson said.

“The Close the Gap campaign is focused on addressing the crisis in Indigenous health within a generation,” she said.

The campaign is supported by more than 40 Indigenous and non-Indigenous organisations, including Caritas Australia.

Ms Thompson said after several failed attempts at meeting with Health Minister Tony Abbott, she hand delivered letters detailing the concerns of 1822 Australians which address the life expectancy of Indigenous Australians.

The letters calls for: an urgent increase in funds of $460 million per year for five years as a first step; an increase in Indigenous control and participation in the delivery of heath services and; a focus on addressing critical social issues such as housing, education and self determination.

“Hand delivering the cards today, as we near the end of the election campaign was an important step in continuing to push the Federal Government to urgently address the issue of Indigenous health at all levels of Government,” she said.

“It is also crucial in promoting Indigenous control of Indigenous health issues.

SOURCE
Caritas calls on major parties to Close the Gap on Indigenous Health (Caritas Australia 20/11/07)

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