WA’s peak Aboriginal health organisation has called on governments to invest more in Aboriginal controlled services if they are serious about closing the gap.
The latest Closing the Gap report revealed very little progress was being made to improve outcomes for Aboriginal people in Australia.
The report showed the life expectancy of Indigenous Australians was still on average 10 years less than non-Indigenous Australians.
The report also found there had been no significant decline in child mortality rates since 2008, with Indigenous children aged 0-4 more than twice as likely to die than non-Indigenous children.
Aboriginal Health Council of WA Chairperson Michelle Nelson-Cox said she was very disappointed the report didn’t focus more on the role of local Aboriginal community control in improving health outcomes.
“The experience across Australia is that putting Aboriginal health in Aboriginal hands improves the health and wellbeing of our people,” she said.
“The Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector is clearly the best placed to deliver preventative and other primary care interventions to Aboriginal people.
“Delivering culturally appropriate care is the best way forward for Aboriginal people, and we are disappointed that this report doesn’t focus on that.”
Ms Nelson-Cox said one of the few positives in the report was a nine per cent decrease in Indigenous smoking rates for those aged 15 years and over since 2002.
“Reducing smoking rates among Aboriginal people has been a focus at AHCWA, and our Tackling Indigenous Smoking Team has been working with services around the state to support people quitting the habit,” she said.
Ms Nelson-Cox said governments across Australia needed to recognise and invest more in the Aboriginal Communitry Controlled Health Sector if they were really committed to closing the gap.