In Australia there are over 517,000 Indigenous
people making up 2.5% of the total Australian
Some live on the
beautiful Torres Strait
Islands, others live in
country towns or
Together we share a common humanity.
We are all created equally
but our opportunities in life and our
levels of disadvantage vary greatly.
For many Torres
Strait Islander and
the odds are stacked
One of us is expected to live 11 years longer than the other
One of us is 3 times more likely to have diabetes
One of us is 9 times more likely to be diagnosed with kidney disease
One of us is Indigenous and one is not
A huge gap exists between the life expectancy
and health of those who are Indigenous and
those who are not.
What is the gap?
Life Expectancy Gap
Life expectancy rate for Indigenous Australians are
alarmingly similar to those in a number of
Indigenous Australia 70
Cambodia Bangladesh Indigenous Aust.
But such a gap has no place in our society
It cannot be tolerated
We cannot look away
We have to care
We have to ask why
The reasons are complex.
Social, economic and physical factors all play a role.
Dispossession Dislocation Discrimination
Poor and overcrowded housing Poor diet and nutrition
Unemployment Limited access to health care services
(3 times the rate for
non-Indigenous people )
(Indigenous Australians earn just 62%
of the income of non-Indigenous people).
Why is there a gap?
These all lead to the Gap
Lack of education (In
2006, 21 % of 15 year old
Indigenous people were not
participating in school
Services and resources
Education and training
Recognition and respect
Working in partnership
How can we Close the Gap?
We have the resources and knowledge to close the gap
In the remote Kimberley region of
Western Australia, Caritas Australia
is working with the DMCP on the
prevention, management, treatment
and care of diabetes, promoting a
change in lifestyle behaviours and
health to reduce the impact of
How is Caritas Australia closing the gap?
Diabetes Management and Care Program (DMCP)
The UFPA supports the education program within the school.
As a result the students are well informed about he cause and effects
of diabetes. Well informed, healthy students are making good choices
Mr. Crawford takes the Children of the Looma Community through some
basketball coaching – promoting more exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle.
The local people are taking control of their own health.
Diabetes in these communities is decreasing!
Cooking classes using local and traditional foods
leaders to run the
Shops are clearly identifying healthy
food with coloured stickers
Jalaris Kids Future Club
Dealing with complex issues among
Indigenous children in the Derby area.
As part of this program
Derby Aboriginal children
are provided with positive
experiences of education,
health and nutrition. The
program runs educationally
based cultural and health
activities 3 days per week.
Children in Derby prepare a healthy lunch
Together, we are moving forward
Caritas Australia and other organisations are working hard to
close the gap but we need help.
In 2008, Prime Minister Mr. Kevin Rudd promised to close the
17-year life expectancy gap between indigenous and
non-indigenous Australians by 2030.
He has promised that Indigenous people will get health services
equal to those of the rest of the population within 10 years.
Now we need to ensure that the
government keeps its promise.
They have agreed to develop a long term plan of action
A great step forward!
At the Indigenous Health Equality Summit the Australian
government and Opposition together with the Australian and
Torres Strait Islander peoples signed a Statement of Intent to
work together to Close the gap
What is the Close the Gap Campaign?
The Close the Gap campaign is calling on Australian
governments to take action to achieve health equality for
Indigenous Australians within 25 years by:
•Increasing annual Indigenous health funding to enable
equal access to health services
•Increasing Indigenous control and participation in the
delivery of health services
•Addressing critical social issues such as housing,
education and self-determination which contribute to the
Indigenous health crisis
What can you do to Close the Gap?
•Join the Facebook Close the Gap group and post relevant news on the Wall
• Add your name on a hand in the Sea of Hands and add your voice to the
growing number of Australians calling for justice for Indigenous peoples -
•Sign GetUp’s petition http://www.getup.org.au
•Support Caritas Australia to extend their Indigenous health programs
How will you help to close the gap?
“I know you think you should make a trip
to Calcutta, but I strongly advise you to
save your airfare and spend it on the
poor in your own country.
Its easy to love people far away. Its not
always easy to love those who live right
next to us.”
Our challenge for the future is to act
What do you believe is the most difficult or challenging obstacle to be
Explain why you do/don’t believe the gap will be closed within 25years?
Why will it take so long?
Explain what you think will be the most obvious sign of the gap closing?
What improvements will be difficult to see?
Why/ How does the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous life
expectancy affect you?
What happens when we don’t keep our promises?
What will be the consequence of not closing the gap?
Catholic Social Teaching
and Close the Gap Campaign
• Common Good
• Human Dignity
• Stewardship of the Earth
• Preferential option for the poor
How are the following principles demonstrated in
the campaign or in Caritas Australia’s Indigenous