Legislative Council: Wednesday, March 22, 2023


Close the Gap Day

The Hon. T.T. NGO (15:09): My question is to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. Will the minister inform the council on Closing the Gap Day events held on 16 March?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:10): I thank the honourable member for his interest and for another important question in the Aboriginal affairs area.

Closing the Gap Day is a community event that raises awareness of existing inequalities in Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander people's lives, communities and outcomes and builds a sense of shared accountability and purpose whilst also offering suggestions and beacons for change. This event has been occurring for more than a decade and generally falls on the third Thursday in every March. The event this year was held at the Adelaide Showground and was presented by Sonder and Nunkuwarrin Yunti in partnership with the Adelaide Primary Health Network and the Northern Adelaide Local Health Network.

As I said, this event has been going over many years and has been successful in engaging the community and bringing people together not only to become more knowledgeable of support services available to communities and individuals but also to highlight some of the barriers, issues, strengths and achievements of Closing the Gap.

I am informed that an estimated 1,500 people attended the event over the course of the day this year. Crowds that attended not only had access to the somewhere over 100 stallholders but were provided with performances from First Nations entertainers, including Katie Aspel, Nathan May, Nancy Bates and Eddie Peters.

The event was catered to suit all ages, including for children's activities, with raffle prizes, many free giveaways and a lunch. A Nunga marketplace for arts and crafts by Aboriginal traders to sell and promote their products and merchandise was also present at the event. I was pleased on the day to attend and to meet quite a number of stallholders in the arts and crafts that had a whole range of their wares on sale.

As I said, I am informed there were over 100 exhibitors across the health and wellbeing sector itself. Surprisingly and importantly, many of these exhibitors were non-government organisations, and certainly NGOs and Aboriginal community controlled organisations continue to play an exceptionally important role, as government does, in addressing Closing the Gap.

It was a pleasure to attend the event and engage with many of the individuals and many exhibitor stalls, including the Pika Wiya, Acktion and No Shame stalls, to name a few. It was pleasing to see such a spread of ages of people who attended the Closing the Gap day. Given the level of attendance and number of exhibitors at the event, it was evident to me that it was another successful event, so I'd like to congratulate all those who had a role in contributing to the success and the important role that all the organisations play in our joint endeavours in Closing the Gap.