What’s Closing the Gap about?

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Bill
Collins
Aboriginal man with a blue shirt stands in a garden
My father is Ngunawal and my mother is Wiradjuri, I have been in Canberra since 1979, when I did an apprenticeship with ACTION buses. I’ve worked in the public service, private enterprise, running my own businesses, running youth outreach programs and now I’m with Gugan Gulwan. Gugan Gulwan does anything for the youth and their families. We try and assist anybody, we try not to turn anybody away but our priority is the Indigenous youth in Canberra and keeping them in school, to help them get a year 10 certificate and helping them to move forward. However, we assist in any way we can, like with family breakdowns and things like that. Closing the Gap is needed, Indigenous people are suffering, they continue to suffer and they need the help that’s been given but my biggest problem is as a previous Indigenous health project officer, I saw it wasn’t getting to the people that really needed it. That’s my biggest problem, the funding is there, the services are there, there’s a lot of organisations that want to help and get on board but there’s frustrations with linking people who need help with the organisations that want to help. It’s a very complicated situation. Over the next ten years of Closing the Gap, I hope that anyone who needs help, gets it. Especially with chronic diseases, if they need help now, they get that help now. It’s not just the individual either, it’s their families, their extended families and their communities because despite what people think, we are a tight community in Canberra. We try and support each other as much as we can. It seems to be sometimes egos, attitudes, peoples’ agendas get in the way, but they shouldn’t, not concerning other people’s lives. And that’s what Closing the Gap is about, saving people’s lives or making people’s lives as pleasant as possible for them and their family. If we can get everyone together, talking together, listening to each other and helping each other and working, we can do a lot more.