Australia's government has pledged to tackle health inequalities that affect Aborigines, who die an average 17 years younger than other Australians.
The prime minister, Kevin Rudd, said that this statistic, and another that shows that twice as many aboriginal infants died in their first year as did non-indigenous children, was unacceptable. He signed a pledge to improve health services for remote indigenous communities and close the gap in life expectancy within 30 years.
“We want to get to this end point which is to close the obscene gap of life expectancy between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians, to close the obscenity of the gap between indigenous children under the age of 5 and non-indigenous children,” he said.
Australia has about 460,000 indigenous Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, who make up about 2% of the 21 million population and are the country's most disadvantaged group (http://ca.reuters.com/article/topNews/idCASYD29920020080320, 20 Mar 2008, “Australian government pushes