Closing the Gap

March 15th, 2018 | Regional Arts Australia News

National Close the Gap Day (Thursday 15 March 2018) is an important time to consider what more can be done to refresh the Closing the Gap agenda. It is widely acknowledged that important targets in health and education and life expectancy have not been met, and this means that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians experience a lower quality of life. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can expect to live 10–17 years less than other Australians. Babies born to Aboriginal mothers die at more than twice the rate of other Australian babies, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience higher rates of preventable illness such as heart disease, kidney disease and diabetes.

The Closing the Gap Refresh process acknowledges that Australian governments need to work differently with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, seeking genuine partnerships to find better solutions.

Arts and culture have a central and proven role in reconciliation and national healing. Culture is central to wellbeing and without the recognition of culture as a key driver of social inclusion, it is unlikely Closing the Gap targets in health and education will be met successfully.

It is also important to recall that the National Arts and Health Framework endorsed by the Commonwealth and the States in 2013 recommended the delivery of arts and health programs and initiatives that address government priority agendas including Closing the Gap on Indigenous Disadvantage.

It is Regional Arts Australia’s belief that the richness and diversity of the world’s oldest living culture provides holistic solutions that recognise and place Indigenous culture as central to healing and health and wellbeing. We will continue to work on and support initiatives and programs that actively seek solutions and close the gap.