National awareness day to maintain the attention on one of Australia's most disgraceful running sores - the 17-year gap in life expectancy between indigenous Australians and the nation as a whole. Australia is failing to meet the Millennium Development Goals while this gap remains.
The quite damning Close The Gap report was first released twelve months, as I commented at the time.
"Annual funding for Indigenous health has increased by over $270 million or by more than 170 per cent in real terms since 1996."
- Opening paragraph of press release on indigenous health budget initiatives, Tony Abbott, 8.5.07
Golly gee. Fair bit of good that has done, as I have already noted.
"It is inconceivable that a country as wealthy as Australia cannot solve a health crisis affecting less than 3% of its population."
- from "Close The Gap: Solutions to the Indigenous Health Crisis facing Australia", April 2007
The NACCHO/Oxfam Australia joint report on the state of indigenous health in this country makes for heartbreaking reading. Just one small extract from the executive summary makes for a depressing introduction: