Media releases

July 7, 2014

On-air health messages helping to close the gap for Noongar community

Regular healthy lifestyle messages are hitting the Noongar radio airwaves as part of an initiative created by the Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia (AHCWA) to reduce the health gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

With $10,000 in funding from the Medibank Community Fund in 2013, the radio campaign is promoting the benefits of a healthy lifestyle to the Noongar community to help prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes or heart disease from having a significant impact on their lives.

The need for programs like the Noongar radio campaign is reinforced by new community research, commissioned by Medibank for NAIDOC Week, which shows that Australians are overwhelmingly aware that there is a life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

The survey revealed that 87 per cent of people know there is a significant gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, and 51 per cent identify 'health issues' as the factors very likely to contribute to the problem.

Medibank's Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Rita Marigliani, said Medibank is committed to working towards a society where there is equity in health and wellbeing outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

"We have identified that partnerships with existing, Aboriginal-led organisations like Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia (AHCWA), are best-suited to engaging with their local communities and identifying and addressing the key health related issues they face," said Ms Marigliani.

"At Medibank our purpose for better health extends to all Australians and we believe that through active participation and community engagement we can help close the life expectancy gap impacting Indigenous people."

This is one of the important actions identified in Medibank's 2014-2016 Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) released on July 7.

"In our Reconciliation Action Plan we have committed to offering $100,000 annually for the next two years to support initiatives that improve the overall health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people," said Ms Marigliani.

The plan sets out 22 actions that will be pursued and was released alongside Medibank's Indigenous Employment Strategy that aims to increase the number of Indigenous people employed by Medibank with opportunities for career development and advancement.

To find out more about Medibank's commitment to Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing go to

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