Closing the Gap
Closing the Gap Program
On Thursday 20th December 2007, Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to a partnership between all levels of government to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) communities to achieve the target of Closing the Gap on Indigenous disadvantage.
Part of the package to combat this disadvantage provided funding for 94 equivalent fulltime Program Officers for Aboriginal Health and 83 Indigenous Outreach Workers based within Divisions of General Practice across Australia.
The Goldfields Esperance region stretches from Southern Cross in the west to the arid regions of the South Australian border, the remote communities up to Wiluna, the Ngaanyatjarraku Lands and down to the pristine coastline of Esperance. It has a population of approximately 56 526, of which 10.5% are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent. This is more than 3 times the State average of 3%, or National average of 2.3%.
The Closing the Gap team for the Goldfields Esperance region will consist of a Program Officer and an Indigenous Outreach Worker. They will work in partnership with other GEGPN staff, GP’s, Allied Health providers, Aboriginal Medical Services and the regions ATSI community to address the poor health status of ATSI people in the region.
The Program Officer for Aboriginal Health (POAH) is based in Kalgoorlie and is responsible for assisting General Practices throughout the region with education, resources or information in relation to:
The POAH will also be responsible for developing resources to assist local ATSI community members to:
The tasks of the POAH are not limited to those mentioned; the role will evolve as necessary to suit the local communities and GP’s.
The Indigenous Outreach Worker (IOW) will assist ASTI Australians with practical “on the ground” assistance.
This invaluable GEGPN staff member will:
The IOW will be a presence in the community who can provide feedback to the Network about what we and allied health services are or are not doing well in the delivery of Indigenous Health Care.
The tasks and responsibilities of the IOW will evolve and grow to meet the needs
This is a new and exciting program which allows local regions to make decisions about how to improve the health of their local ATSI populations. This is an initiative which will become a turning point in ATSI history and aims to Make Indigenous Health Everyone’s business.
Contact: Vishal Sharma, Program Officer Aboriginal Health