Positive action must match positive rhetoric to “Close the Gap” for Aboriginal People

Posted by Policy Unit on 16 February 2017

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VACCHO calls on Prime Minister Turnbull to invest in action that will accelerate progress in meeting all health equity targets for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“Whilst we applaud the Government’s focus on the “relentless and determined optimism and celebrating success” the fact remains that we are on track to achieve only one of seven Closing the Gap targets” said Mr Trevor Pearce, Acting CEO of VACCHO. “A focus on success must translate to investment in proven strategies led by Aboriginal people at the local level. We know what works”

Aboriginal community controlled organisations (ACCOs) must be equal partners in resource decisions that address their communities’ needs. 

Victorian communities need more effective engagement with the Commonwealth Government:
• there is no Victorian representative on the Prime Minister’s new Indigenous Advisory Council; and
• VACCHO’s capacity to advocate on behalf of Victorian communities will be damaged by a new ‘single funding agreement’ between the Commonwealth and all Aboriginal jurisdictional peak bodies for health.
“We agree with the Prime Minister’s call to celebrate the ‘broader story of Indigenous Australia’, but that story is woven from the many stories of local communities” said Mr Pearce. “Those local stories must be reflected in the Government’s investment in local, community controlled organisations”

This Government must harness the value of Community Controlled Health and purchasing health and wellbeing services already delivered by ACCOs to meet the needs of their communities in the same way that Indigenous Procurement Policy harnesses the purchasing power of this Government to drive demands for goods and services delivered by Indigenous Owned Businesses.

“We aren’t just statistics.  Behind the numbers, are real people, people we work with, people we care for, and people we love.  The Government has admitted failure to meet six of its seven targets.  This is a level of service that would never be considered acceptable for an ACCO” said Mr Pearce.

“We meet our commitments.  It’s time for the Government to meet theirs.”


VACCHO is the peak body for Aboriginal Health in Victoria.  VACCHO has 29 Members who are self-determining Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations delivering holistic health and well-being services to their local Communities.


Enquiries, contact Dana Pyne  Acting Manager, Policy and Advocacy Unit (03) 9411 9411