Our national shame

The gap between the health of Indigenous Australians and the rest of our population is a scandal.

It’s great to see that the government has started to take the welfare of Indigenous Australians seriously but a lot more needs to be done.

Oxfam Australia is making a difference through their Close the Gap campaign.

It’s hard to believe but impossible to deny that Indigenous Australians live nearly 20 years less than other Australians. In 21st century Australia this is plainly unacceptable.

While most women in Australia can expect to live to an average age of 82 years, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women can expect to live to only 64.8 years. The situation is even worse for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men whose life expectancy is only 59.4 years.

We should not accept that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders end up in hospitals at twice the rate of other Australians. Nor is it fair that while most Australians can look forward to long healthy lives with access to some of the best healthcare facilities in the world, Indigenous Australians can expect to die at much higher rates of heart disease, cancer, and kidney failure, to name a few diseases.

It’s sad but true that Indigenous Australians have not shared in the health gains enjoyed by other Australians over the last twenty years. Yet it is inconceivable that a country as wealthy as Australia cannot solve a health crisis affecting less then three per cent of its population.

If you’d like to see a change you can visit the Close the Gap website and discover a lot more information with a range of ways to get involved in making a difference.

Posted by Rodney Olsen

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