National Closing the Gap Day

National Closing the Gap Day, A time to reflect on the strengths and leadership of the Aboriginal Community-Controlled Health Sector.

As we mark National Close the Gap Day today, the Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia (AHCWA) reflects on this year’s theme Voyage to Voice, Treaty, Truth and Beyond.

Closing the Gap Day puts an important spotlight on the vast health, economic and life disparities between Aboriginal and the Australian population at large. As the peak body for Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) in Western Australia (WA), AHCWA reflects back on 2023, and what lies ahead, celebrating the ongoing work and dedication of the sector in delivering the ACCHS Model of Care. AHCWA Chairperson Ms Vicki O’Donnell OAM says, ‘WA has a strong sector of ACCHS, with deep connection to communities that are at the forefront of facing health inequities.’

Since the very beginning of the community-controlled sector over 50 years ago, the sector has grown exponentially, deeply understanding and addressing the diverse needs of communities. ACCHS are established through acts of true self-determination, Aboriginal governance and to tackle structural power imbalances; in response to experiences of racism and an unmet need for culturally safe and accessible primary health care for Aboriginal people.

Ms O’Donnell said, ‘In line with this year’s theme for National Close the Gap Day, AHCWA looks forward to continued efforts towards Treaty and Truth, knowing rightful sovereignty and truth-telling mechanisms for healing are part of the holistic approach towards closing the gap and achieving greater health and wellbeing outcomes. In the wake of the Referendum, we continue to work hard and advocate to amplify the voices and decision-making of Aboriginal people and leaders across WA. In terms of Beyond, our vision remains clear; full and collaborative implementation of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap to translate to better outcomes and stronger, thriving communities on the ground.’

Since the initial signing of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap (the Agreement) in 2020, AHCWA is as committed as ever in ensuring its success and accountability. The Agreement will strengthen the way in which everyone works together to deliver quality and culturally appropriate health services for Aboriginal people. Ms O’Donnell said, ‘Aboriginal people and the sector continually show tremendous strength and resilience. To close the gap, we need governments to share power with Aboriginal people and acknowledge that they know what is best for their communities and their future.’

AHCWA also recognises and pays tribute to the history and journey of establishing the National Agreement to make it what it is today; new ways of working to drive what is needed to overcome entrenched inequality.

Ms O’Donnell concludes, ‘Today we reflect on how far we have come, as well as how far we will go. 2024 and beyond, we need to disrupt the status quo for transformation and aim for the greatest level of inclusion. This means a strategic and authentic approach to closing the gap and complete attention given to the diverse and unique needs and skills of Aboriginal communities.’

For additional information, please call Alicia on 0424 393 868 or email [email protected]