Constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is clearly linked to positive health outcomes, according to more than 100 of the nation’s health bodies, which have announced their support in reducing health disadvantage and inequality.
A project of the Lowitja Institute, the Recognise Health initiative launched today highlights the link between health and wellbeing and constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Australians are also being urged to join the 117 health bodies who signed a statement to support constitutional recognition.
“Recognition, participation and equity have profound positive consequences for wellbeing,” says Lowitja Institute CEO Romlie Mokak.
“There is significant evidence from health research to indicate that being connected to the wider community, having a strong identity and feeling socially supported, all have significant positive impacts on health.”
The people’s movement Recognise in its research paper states that it would like to see constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people; governance arrangements that bring together the levers for policy making; clarity of responsibility; and an active role for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The paper states that as a national conversation is now taking place about recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Constitution as Australia’s First Peoples, the time has come to consider consistent and comprehensive legislative approaches to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people receive appropriate health services.
Policy and program commitments, as well as enabling arrangements, should fit clearly into an overarching responsibility in Commonwealth and/or State legislation, rather than depending on a complex and ever-changing administrative landscape.