Today, we are proud to launch our first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) as a significant step forward in the fight to reduce the incidence and impact of cancer in Aboriginal communities.
Our President and cancer researcher Professor George Yeoh said the RAP demonstrated our commitment and determination to reduce the incidence and impact that cancer has in Aboriginal communities.
Professor Yeoh said there was no doubt that cancer is a significant factor in understanding why Aboriginal Australians can expect to live 10-15 years less than non-Aboriginal Australians.
Shockingly, cancer death rates are 30% higher for Aboriginal people than other Australians, 65% higher in some remote areas and the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal cancer deaths has been widening since 2006.
“We believe our RAP will provide renewed energy to help drive our programs and initiatives across WA and most importantly, allow us to lead a community effort to work together to improve the quality of life and cancer outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” Professor Yeoh said.
Local Aboriginal elder, Associate Professor Ted Wilkes AO, welcomed the launch of the Plan and said he was also looking forward to an ongoing connection with this initiative by agreeing to chair our inaugural Aboriginal Advisory Group which would provide guidance on our Aboriginal programs and services.
“We will only see an improvement in Aboriginal life expectancy through the collective efforts of governments and organisations like Cancer Council to work towards reconciliation through action plans like this,” Associate Professor Wilkes said.
Peta Ugle, an Aboriginal artist from Mandurah who won a state wide competition to design artwork to be used on the RAP and a new range of our Aboriginal resources, also spoke at the launch of the RAP.
James Back from Reconciliation WA, which has supported the development of the RAP congratulated us on leading the way with the launch of this document.
“Preparing and launching a Plan like this is a significant step towards addressing the disparity in health outcomes.
“Reconciliation is about relationships, respect, and the opportunities that flow from them," Mr Back said.
“While organisations that develop RAP’s will only make a small difference on their own, collectively they can improve the hardships experienced by Aboriginal Australians, which in turn can improve health outcomes and contribute to reconciliation in Australia.
“It’s now about people stepping up to the plate and becoming champions to advocate for the success of the RAP.
“It’s also about fostering pride and respect in the culture and contribution of our first Australians,” he said.
Listen to our Aboriginal Projects Officer, Louise De Busch and James Back from Reconciliation WA chat to Kylie Sturgess from RTRFM about the importance of our RAP here.
You can read our entire Reflect RAP for 2016 - 2017 here.