Today on National Close the Gap Day we honor and acknowledge our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders and community members for their tireless advocacy and commitment to the health and wellbeing of our people. This year’s Close the Gap report ‘Transforming power: Voices for generational change,’ themes are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led transformation, gender justice: equality and equity, and allyship. The report highlights Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and programs, including the Marram Nganyin Youth Mentoring program.
Marram Nganyin is a program overseen by KYC, and was initially funded in partnership with Youth Affairs Council of Victoria (YACVic) for five years. Recently in an important step, YACVic recognised that supporting the self-determination of the program was crucial, which resulted in the program to be overseen by KYC alone and therefore, entirely led by and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. KYC’s role in the program is to support communities to design and lead their own youth mentoring programs.
It is through Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander led organisations and programs, and in this example, community youth led support systems, that we see positive, meaningful and empowered outcomes.
In the last 12 months we have seen developments, in particular the National Agreement on Closing the Gap roll out and the new 10 year National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan release. However, there is much more work to be done and for positive health solutions, it must be led and self-determined by our people through community led solutions, it is the way forward and only way when it comes to health of our people.
Systemic reform and access equity is essential in closing the gap.
In recognition of this year’s report, ‘Transforming power: Voices for generational change,’ we join the call, alongside our communities, calling on all governments and opposition to truly act on our calls for change and with the leadership of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.