Closing the Gap Day 2019
Wednesday 3 April, 2019
today to acknowledge the growing success of the annual Closing the Gap Day
event here in South Australia. This year, the event was hosted in the Goyder
Pavilion at the Wayville Showgrounds. I attended this
event, on behalf of the Premier, last Wednesday, the 27th of March
I think we
are all now aware of the significant gap that exists between indigenous and
non-indigenous people in terms of health and life expectancy, educational
achievement and employment opportunities. The National Closing the Gap Campaign
works to address some of these major inequalities and has seen some of Australia's
peak Indigenous and non-Indigenous health bodies, NGOs and human rights
organisations working together to achieve national health and life expectation
equality for Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
known as Northern Health Network, has reported that Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander people can expect to live between 10-17 years less than
Perhaps more concerningly, the 2019 Closing the Gap Report has revealed that while
progress has been made over the past decade, only two of the program’s
ambitious targets are currently on track.
disappointing figures make it clear that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander’s
do not benefit from mainstream health services to the same extent that non-indigenous
Australian people do. Reasons for this include, health services which are not
as accessible to remote Aboriginal communities and that mainstream health
services often lack the level of cultural sensitivity required to effectively
serve Indigenous peoples.
Closing the Gap Day is an important event to raise awareness for these issues
and to help Close the Gap by 2030.
Gap Day is the annual focal point of the National Closing the Gap Campaign. It
is a free, all-ages event which seeks to bring people from Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander Communities together. From this they can share
information and take meaningful action in support of achieving Indigenous
National Closing the Gap Day was held in 2007, involving five large state
events and more than 300 community events. It has since become an annual occasion
in which all Australian states and Territories participate, now being the
largest and highest profile Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health event
in the country.
Gap Day here in South Australia is organised and coordinated by Sonder, with
the support of the Adelaide PHN, Nunkuwarrin Yunti and SA Health’s Watto
the event boasted stalls from over 65 health service providers, sharing
valuable information and promoting services to ensure better health outcomes
for Aboriginal people and communities.
Sydney Swans AFL player and hall of fame member, Michael O’Loughlin, MC’d the
event, which showcased a number of talented indigenous performers. These included
The Merrg, Vonda Last, the Dusty Feet Mob and Joshua Warrior.
Attendees enjoyed a free lunch and were able to receive free health check, including:
- measurements of blood pressure and blood glucose;
- free immunisations; and
- consults with Traditional Healers.
It was a
truly family friendly event with a Yellow Brick Road competition that
encouraged people to visit participating stall holders and get involved. There
were also plenty of activities for the kids, including a jumping castle, inflatable
bumper cars, footy games, a petting zoo and face painting, with prizes for a
number of lucky participants.
I had the
pleasure of meeting Sonder’s CEO, Mr Sageran Naidoo, who was blown away by the overall community
engagement and participation at this years’ event. Mr Naidoo recalled that in
previous years the Closing the Gap Day event had attracted only a few hundred
attendees. This year however, Sonder has confirmed that there were over 2000 attendees,
which exceeded the organiser’s expectations by over 1000 people.