IAHA Media release -New National Agreement on Closing the Gap marks historic shift to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ life outcomes
The National Agreement signals a turning point in the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and governments – one that is based on shared decision making on policies and programs that impact Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s lives.
Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA) came together with more than fifty other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community controlled peak bodies, to fight for our communities as we believe Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples need to be included in the programs, services and decisions that directly affect them. We know that governments making decisions about us, not with us, was never going to have the positive impact needed on Closing the Gap. We knew that things needed to change and that we had to do something about it.
The negotiations on the National Agreement with governments were hard fought. For the Coalition of Peaks, the National Agreement is not just words. It represents actions that can make a real difference to the lives of our people, our families and communities.
We have also had the voices of the more than 4000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who participated in our engagements on what should be included in the new National Agreement guiding us in our negotiations. We needed to collectively show Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that they have been heard.
The new National Agreement is a commitment from all governments to fundamentally change the way they work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations through four Priority Reforms that were overwhelmingly supported during the community engagements led by the Coalition of Peaks late last year.
The Priority Reforms commit governments to new partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across the country; strengthen community-controlled organisations to deliver closing the gap services; address structural racism within government agencies and organisations; and improve sharing of data and information with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations to support shared decision making.
IAHA is pleased to see the National Agreement include a renewed commitment to improving health and wellbeing, by taking a more holistic and culturally informed approach which considers both the social and cultural determinants of health. As with all areas under the new National Agreement, it’s success will be dependent on the commitment to the priority reforms, particularly new ways of working for government with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, under shared decision making and investment in community-control and Indigenous-led solutions.
IAHA Chief Executive Officer, Donna Murray, said of the new agreement: “IAHA are supporting the new agreement as it represents a genuine commitment to doing things differently. As a national health workforce peak, IAHA are focused on outcomes in health and beyond, as genuine progress cannot be made without sustained, cross-sectoral investment in areas such as housing, justice and education. The allied health workforce is crucial across a range of sectors and settings. IAHA are committed to working with our members.
To read the full new National Agreement on Closing the Gap, head to the Coalition of Peaks website:
For more information and media enquiries
• Indigenous Allied Health Australia: Charlie Giles on (02) 6285 1010 or firstname.lastname@example.org
• Coalition of Peaks: Jo Scard on 0457 725 953 or email@example.com; and Julia Macerola on 0422 337 332 or firstname.lastname@example.org