Media Release


WGAR News media monitoring: Closing the Gap Report Card (1 Mar 09)


National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO):
PM’s speech uses flawed “evidence” on Aboriginal health
6 Mar 09: “Dr Mick Adams, chair of NACCHO, the peak body
for Aboriginal community controlled medical services, says
“Our medical services are being further marginalised in
the government’s response to our Close the Gap campaign by
the use of flawed data”. Dr Adams said the Prime
Minister’s claim in his February 26 Close the Gap report
card that the strategy to address treatable chronic
illness should be targeted “largely through the mainstream
health system, because that is where 70 per cent of
Indigenous people are treated” is wrong. “Unfortunately,
the seventy percent figure is an urban myth based on one
poorly worded survey by Australian Bureau of Statistics
(ABS) being used to sideline our services” Dr Adams said.
“The figure is used in preference to an evidence-based
approach which indicates our services treat closer to 50 %
of the Aboriginal population” Dr Adams said. … “Given
that Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services
provide better outreach services, culturally appropriate
care and comprehensive support, they are able to reach
needy and under-served Aboriginal patients which is the
key intent in closing the gap in Aboriginal disadvantage”
says NACCHO CEO Dea Delaney Thiele.”


GLW: Government ‘clueless’ on Aboriginal issues
7 Mar 09: “On February 26, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd gave
his first “report card” on the progress made on ending
Aboriginal disadvantage, meeting a delayed election promise
to do so every year at the opening of parliament. Rudd’s
report, however, has been meet with criticism from
Aboriginal activists and supporters.” Peter Robson

NIT: Blackcurrent: When feelings aren’t mutual
5 Mar 09: “… there was a lot of talk of respect coming
out of Mr Rudd’s mouth this month. I noticed it when he
finally delivered his promised progress report on
Indigenous affairs. The report, of course, contained
basically no new statistics or indicators that his
government had done anything. Even the proud statement that
they had built 80 new homes in Aboriginal communities was
bitterly digested, given all these houses were intended for
government officials (a fact that Mr Rudd didn’t mention in
his speech). But nonetheless, despite his government making
little ground in progressing Indigenous Australia, he still
felt the need to call on Aboriginal people themselves to
show more respect to government.” Amy McQuire

Oxfam Australia: Foundations laid in past year to ‘Close the Gap’ in health
26 Feb 09: “The Close the Gap coalition has welcomed the
Rudd Government’s Report Card on closing the gap in
Indigenous life outcomes, in particular the $58.3 million
over four years for eye and ear health – with a trachoma
element – and the appointment of a Coordinator General for
remote Indigenous services.”

Reconciliation Australia says PM’S report card establishes
a framework to close the gap
“The Co-Chairs of Reconciliation Australia, Mick Dodson and
Mark Leibler, have said that the Government’s first annual
Closing the Gap report sets out a potential, longterm
framework of investment and accountability that draws on
known ingredients for success. Evidence from around the
world, and increasingly in the Australian context, shows
that improved results for Indigenous people depends on
mutually respectful relationships, long term investment,
and solutions which are tailored to the needs and
aspirations of individual communities.”


NIT: Culture to ‘close the gap’: ANTaR
5 Mar 09: “Land, culture, identity and respect need to be
among the issues addressed by the Rudd government before it
can tackle Aboriginal disadvantage, says a reconciliation
group. David Cooper, national director of Australians for
Native Title and Reconciliation (ANTaR), on Friday said
Labor needed an “expanded, shared vision” of what it means
to “close the gap”. But Mr Cooper said a key shortcoming
has been a lack of Indigenous engagement and progress on
the ground.”

NIT: Canberra should control black health: AMSANT
5 Mar 09: “The Rudd government is being urged to take
control of Aboriginal health from its state and territory
counterparts. Efforts to close the 17-year gap in life
expectancy are being hampered by a lack of coordination,
vision and service duplication, says Aboriginal Medical
Service Alliance NT (AMSANT) chair Stephanie Bell.”

ABC: Parties need to ‘work together’ to close the gap
28 Feb 09: “The Northern Territory’s Minister for
Indigenous Policy says the Territory Government should not
shoulder all of the blame for delays in closing the gap for
Indigenous people. Alison Anderson says people are not
happy with the pace of change being implemented by the
Territory Government. She says it is slow because of the
level of consultation needed and it could be faster if all
parties worked together.”

ABC: Closing the gap ‘report card’: must try harder
27 Feb 09: “The first “report card” on efforts to improve
the living conditions of Indigenous Australians is in, with
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd saying there has been progress in
the past 12 months. … The Opposition says there is
nothing in the report card to suggest Mr Rudd’s claims of
advancement are true, and the Greens agree. But there has
been a more positive response from some Indigenous

Australian: Abbott, indigenous leaders at odds on report
27 Feb 09: “TONY Abbott has declared Kevin Rudd’s first
report card into closing the gap between black and white
Australia a failure. The Coalition’s indigenous affairs
spokesman — who left to catch a plane before the Prime
Minister delivered his speech — said there was nothing in
the report to suggest children would be taken to school

Vibe News: PM delivers report on closing the gap
27 Feb 09: “Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has promised free
health checks for Indigenous people in urban areas to
detect disease early, and will appoint a director-general
to cut through red tape in remote areas to help close the
17-year gap in life expectancy.”

Independent Weekly: Rudd’s indigenous report card short on outcomes: expert
26 Feb 09: “The Prime Minister’s report card on closing the
gap between indigenous and non-indigenous living standards
will be short on outcomes because data doesn’t exist to
accurately measure progress, an Aboriginal affairs expert
says. … But Jon Altman, who heads up the Centre for
Aboriginal Economic Policy Research at the Australian
National University, says he suspects the prime minister’s
report card will be sketchy when it comes to actual

Live News: Rudd’s done nothing to help Aborigines: Joyce
26 Feb 09: “The Prime Minister will outline the progress
made to Indigenous health, employment and housing since the
Parliament’s apology one year ago. But Nationals Senate
leader Barnaby Joyce says there’s little progress to
report. “This will be a very short speech. The answer will
be virtually nothing,” Mr Joyce said.”

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