One of the very special events in Canberra on Close the Gap Day (Thursday 20 March) saw a Statement of Intent signed jointly by 24 national allied health organisations. The Statement and its formal signing were organised jointly by the peak national body of allied health professions, Allied Health Professions Australia (AHPA), and Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA).
The Statement of Intent is expected to make a significant contribution to improved Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing.
The Chairpersons of IAHA and AHPA, Faye McMillan and Lyn Littlefield, both addressed the launch, bringing together organisations representing some 120,000 practising allied health professionals. It is estimated that less than 2 per cent of these are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The Statement of Intent will focus on joint strategies to close the gap in Indigenous health and encourage more Indigenous people to take up a career in allied health. It includes commitments to a long-term plan of action relating to allied health services, advocating for culturally responsive health care services and health infrastructure for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and building on the evidence base about what works in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, especially in allied health services.
The 25 signatories to the Statement of Intent are listed in IAHA's media release here.
The special event was held in Parliament House. It was expertly chaired by Mick Gooda, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, and was addressed by Assistant Minister for Health, Fiona Nash.