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The health of Australia’s Indigenous population is a national embarrassment, and there is little evidence in the country’s history of a real commitment by governments to address the issue.
The international experience shows that it is possible to achieve large and rapid improvements in the health of Indigenous people through the implementation of several fundamental strategies.
Recent initiatives in Indigenous health indicate some commitment to these strategies, and provide hope for a narrowing in the gap in health status and in the inequity in health services between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians over the coming decades.
However, real long term gains will depend on a degree of reconciliation, and improved parity in the underlying socio-economic determinants of health.