The Fred Hollows Foundation has backed the new Productivity Commission review warning that the Closing the Gap National Agreement will fail without fundamental changes.
The National Agreement seeks to deliver on four priority reforms including shared decision-making, building the community-controlled sector, transforming government organisations and sharing access to data – none of which are being met according to the review.
The review highlights that ‘business as usual’ is not working and a shift to more genuine partnership and community control is vital for ensuring real outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
The Fred Hollows Foundation CEO Mr Ian Wishart said the organisation supported the recommendations of the report to rethink mainstream government systems and culture, share power, support Indigenous data sovereignty, and implement stronger accountability mechanisms.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are three times more likely than other Australians to be blind or vision impaired and greater community control is vital for progress on this and all health inequities,” Wishart said.
“Fred believed in genuine partnership and active community involvement to address the health inequities faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.”
He added: “The Productivity Commission’s Report highlights the urgent need for this, and the foundation urges the government to adopt this fair approach.”
Wishart said that genuine partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, shifting decision making powers and supporting community control would support the transformation of systems and policies for lasting improvements.
He said although Fred Hollows acknowledged the steps taken across the four Closing the Gap target areas, there is opportunity to improve.
“We call on government and organisations to reflect on the way they do business, explore what good practice and allyship means to them, and take measurable action to achieving equity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia,” Wishart said.