4th Apr 2014

Alice Springs community paints town red, black and yellow for National Close the Gap Day

The Alice Springs community celebrated this year’s National Close the Gap Day in flying colours, calling for a continued commitment by Government to invest in improving health and wellbeing outcomes for Aboriginal people.

The event was organised by representatives from Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance NT (AMSANT), Central Australian Aboriginal Congress Aboriginal Corporation, Northern Territory General Practice Education and the Northern Territory Medicare Local.

National Close the Gap Day campaign founder, Dr Tom Calma AO also joined the Alice Springs community in commemorating the day.

Indigenous radio service, CAAMA, broadcasted live from the event and spoke with Dr Tom Calma and others to ask ‘what does Close the Gap (campaign) mean to you?’

"Close the Gap Day is about celebrating our success. What we are seeing across the nation today is people standing up in support for each other and support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in order to demonstrate to government that it is not acceptable to have such an inequality gap in health, education and housing” said Dr Tom Calma.

CAAMA also spoke with Central Australian Aboriginal Congress CEO, Ms Donna Ah Chee regarding the Close the Gap targets and a response to the latest Close the Gap Report Card released last month.

“The Close the Gap Report Card shows that overall there has only been a small improvement across the nation in closing the life expectancy gap for Aboriginal people, however, looking at the averages across the nation doesn’t tell the major news story which is the big improvement in Aboriginal life expectancy rates occurring here in the Northern Territory which is the only jurisdiction on track to close the gap by 2030” said Ms Ah Chee.

“This has occurred because there has been a genuine working partnership between both levels of Government and Aboriginal community controlled health sector. This partnership has seen the investment of funds where they were most needed” explained Ms Ah Chee.

National Close the Gap Day is intended to shift the focus of governments to prioritise Indigenous health care, through recommitting funding and investing in real partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.