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National Close the Gap Day in Australia

National Close the Gap Day (NCTGD) is an annual awareness event that aims to close the health and life expectancy gap between the indigenous and the non-indigenous communities in Australia.

Is National Close the Gap Day a Public Holiday?

National Close the Gap Day is not a public holiday. Businesses have normal opening hours.

November 22, 2015: Indigenous dancers strike a pose during the Homeground festival - a major annual celebration of Aboriginal culture in Sydney, Australia.

©iStockphoto.com/PomInOz

NCTGD is usually held on the third Thursday in March. It was first observed in 2007 as a joint venture between Australia's top public and health organizations. Olympic sprinter Cathy Freeman and swimmer Ian Thorpe launched the campaign from the Olympic Stadium in Sydney.

Unequal Health Outcomes

The campaign was a response to the poor health outcomes among indigenous groups in Australia. Studies have shown that the life expectancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is 10-17 years lower than that of non-Indigenous Australians.

The main aim of National Close the Gap Day is to make people from both indigenous and non-indigenous backgrounds aware of this problem and work towards finding ways to solve it.

A Human Rights Issue

High life expectancy is not just a health issue, but it is also a human rights issue. Poverty, education, and employment levels all have a long-lasting impact on the health of a community. The Close the Gap campaign recognizes this and emphasizes that closing the gap in early childhood development, schooling, housing, and employment is the key to also closing the health gap.

What Happens on National Close the Gap Day

National Close the Gap Day is not an official holiday, so businesses, schools, and government offices are open. Community health groups, educators, medical professionals, and policy-makers organize outreach drives, conferences, and workshops to bring attention to the problem of low life expectancy among indigenous groups.

National Close the Gap Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2015ThuMar 19National Close the Gap DayObservance
2016ThuMar 17National Close the Gap DayObservance
2017ThuMar 16National Close the Gap DayObservance
2018ThuMar 15National Close the Gap DayObservance
2019ThuMar 21National Close the Gap DayObservance
2020ThuMar 19National Close the Gap DayObservance
2021ThuMar 18National Close the Gap DayObservance
2022ThuMar 17National Close the Gap DayObservance
2023ThuMar 16National Close the Gap DayObservance
2024ThuMar 21National Close the Gap DayObservance
2025ThuMar 20National Close the Gap DayObservance

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