Indigenous Australians people have endured a history of colonisation that has profoundly affected their health and wellbeing. For First Nations people, good health goes beyond the absence of disease and illness; it is a holistic concept that includes physical, social, emotional, cultural and spiritual wellbeing, for both individual and community. In 2020, all governments committed to new targets to improve the lives of Indigenous people, after the failure of the previous Closing the Gap scheme. Indigenous burden of disease is 2.3 times that of non-Indigenous Australians; rates of psychological distress and chronic diseases are higher; there are disparities across education, housing, employment and income; access to health services is often limited and not culturally appropriate.
This book also examines the factors which underpin the foundations for effectively tackling indigenous health and disadvantage: holistic health and wellbeing; social determinants of health; and cultural determinants of health. We have 17 new Closing the Gap targets. Will governments now do what is needed to meet them?