Image: Bridget Cama speaking at the 2023 Close the Gap report launch.

Bridget Cama believes it’s time to take a different approach to Close the Gap.

Ms Cama co-chairs the Uluru Youth Dialogue and spoke at the launch of the 2023 Close the Gap campaign in Sydney.

“Australians know that the gap exists between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians,” she said.

“Government-implemented initiatives, policies and laws imposed on us and our communities to address or manage First Nations affairs have not worked.

“They continue to fail us because at every stage we are shut out of the decision-making processes.”

The Close the Gap campaign represents more than 50 organisations who, since 2006, have advocated for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equity and equality.

At the launch, the campaign, chaired by June Oscar and Karl Briscoe, released its latest report, Strong Culture, Strong Youth: Our Legacy Our Future.

The report highlights the need for self-determination and First Nations led decision-making to shape a vision of health and wellbeing that has culture at its heart.

At the launch, singer-songwriter Naomi Wenitong spoke about Naytive Mentorship, a music program for Indigenous youths she founded in Cairns.

When young people complete the music program, they do not need to be musicians, rather the program empowers youth with the opportunity to gain skills.

“The biggest aim is to inspire these young people to be the best version of themselves they possibly can be and exhaust every avenue doing that in every single way, from just getting the basic birth certificate to getting an ABN number,” Ms Wenitong said.

The 2023 Close the Gap report focuses on the leadership of a new generation of activists and demonstrates how a focus on young people’s key concerns and aspirations can be a powerful engine for positive change. 

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National Close The Gap Day – Sydney Livestream