Original NAIDOC Week a chance to reflect on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health

The National Rural Health Alliance, the peak body for rural health in Australia, acknowledged the original dates for NAIDOC Week, which was to run from 5-12 July 2020 but has been postponed due to COVID-19.

“We support the decision to postpone NAIDOC Week because it’s the right thing to do to try and stop the spread of COVID-19,” said CEO Dr Gabrielle O’Kane.

“This week though gives us the chance to reflect on not just the history and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, but also on the significant work still to be done to reduce racism, improve health outcomes and create a health care system that is culturally safe for all.

“The recent new Closing the Gap targets highlight just how difficult this job is, but we mustn’t give up.

“This includes improving access to health care in remote areas, where many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live, but also a real commitment to addressing the social determinants of health.

The Alliance repeated its call for a serious commitment by National Cabinet to addressing racism as a way to improving health outcomes.

“Structural racism and racial prejudice have a clear impact on the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and we need all levels of government to acknowledge and address this.

“During the original NAIDOC Week dates, we also want to highlight the need to improve the recruitment and retention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health professionals.

"This is an important part of creating a culturally safe health system that provides appropriate care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”

NAIDOC Week will now be held from 8-15 November 2020.

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