Selwyn Button is a Gungarri man from south-west Queensland, Selwyn was raised in Cherbourg and for many years has led policy, service delivery and legislative reforms to support improved outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Selwyn is currently Chairperson of the Lowitja Institute,
The Lowitja Institute, like its namesake and patron Lowitja O’Donoghue, is a small yet powerful organisation exploring research questions that seek to improve the health and wellbeing of our people across the country and, at the demand of our communities, traversing paths that no other research institutes follow. Selwyn was a special guest on Big Brekky with Gman.
“Climate change impacts significantly on health, including food and water security, and the need for safe housing and energy justice is paramount,” Adjunct Professor Mohamed said. “So, governments need to be investing heavily in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander led prevention, mitigation and adaptation solutions".
The Australian Government on Monday delivered its second Closing the Gap Implementation Plan, alongside the Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Organisations (Coalition of Peaks) annual Implementation Plan. It will also restore the Closing the Gap statement at the start of the parliamentary year.
Lowitja Institute CEO Adjunct Professor, Janine Mohamed said the implementation plans detail each parties’ responsibility towards achieving the Priority Reforms of the National Agreement, which are crucial to meeting Closing the Gap targets.
“We echo the sentiments of Coalition of Peaks lead convenor Pat Turner that full implementation of the Priority Reforms is what is needed by governments if we are to improve our life outcomes and close the gap,” she said.
“Accountability for governments and joint decision making are essential to this, particularly Priority Reform 1 (formal partnerships and shared decision making) and Priority Reform 3 (transforming governments),” she said.
“In our work at the Lowitja Institute, we advocate for transforming systems to ensure they are culturally safe. This must be at the heart of systems reform.”
Adjunct Professor Mohamed also welcomed the $424 million additional funding to Closing the Gap, with the focus on addressing access to clean drinking water, new remote housing, food security, On-Country education and family violence.
“We will watch carefully to ensure these measures are, as promised by the federal government, designed and delivered in line with the Priority Reforms and through formal partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and communities, which are then prioritised for service delivery,” she said.
“This is critical to any real hope for meeting Closing the Gaps targets, which have languished for too long at great individual and community cost for our peoples.” Lowitja Institute has led important research on the disproportionate impact of the climate crisis on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including a discussion paper launched at a side meeting at the United Nations COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow in 2021 (Climate in health (lowitja.org.au).
“Climate change impacts significantly on health, including food and water security, and the need for safe housing and energy justice is paramount,” Adjunct Professor Mohamed said. “So governments need to be investing heavily in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander led prevention, mitigation and adaptation solutions.”