Friday, July 3, 2009

Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage

I was interested to read about the release of the Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage report, an 800 page document attempting to state the issues of Indigenous Disadvantage and identify areas for improvement. Perhaps what was most disenheartening to read about this report (the fourth since 2002) was that many of the issues with regard to Indigenous disadvantage have not improved and in fact some are worse.

Since the initial report was first published there have been improvements with regard to health, employment and income in Indigenous Australians, however, in parallel there have also been improvements in Non-Indigenous Australians. This ultimately results in a continued disadvantage in Indigenous Australians.

There remains a 10-12 year gap in life expectancy at birth between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. Specifically when we look at deaths from potentially preventable causes, we see that Indigenous people are 5 times more likely to die from heart attack and 18 times more likely to die from diabetes than non-Indigenous people.

Findings such as these are key reasons why there needs to be research into understanding the various factors that contribute to these marked differences between Indigenous and non-indigenous communities. More importantly we need to identify methods to improve outcome in Indigenous community. What I do like in the report is the fact that they outline four major factors which contribute to effective programs, these are:

1) Cooperative approaches between Indigenous people and government
2) Community involvement in program design
3) Good governance
4) Ongoing government support – including human, financial and physical resources.

No comments:

Post a Comment