Settlement Services International (SSI) has welcomed the release of the 2021 Closing the Gap report, released today, and backed the Australian Human Rights Commision’s calls for large-scale systemic reform to avoid preventable deaths and protect Indigenous health, wellbeing, culture and Country.
On National Close the Gap Day, SSI has added its voice to calls for government consideration of the solutions outlined in the Closing the Gap report, which was produced by the Lowitja Institute – Australia’s community controlled national institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research.
SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis said the report highlighted strength-based examples of First Nations’ people and communities solving complex challenges, ranging from climate change to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Every day, when we come to work, we walk on land where First Nations’ people have had culture and connection for more than 60,000 years,” she said.
“Growing our engagement with, and understanding of, Australia’s First Nations’ cultures is our shared privilege. Underpinning this privilege is an acknowledgment of the strength within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and all that we have to gain by embracing one another’s contributions.”
Ms Roumeliotis said this was particularly evident in the report’s recommendation that investment in programs designed and led by First Nations’ people was the most effective way to achieve better health outcomes.
“The onus is on all arms of our society – government, the corporate sector, civil society organisations like SSI – to engage with and lend our support to strengths-based, community-led action that protects Indigenous health, wellbeing, culture and Country,” she said.