As part of our mission for better health, Medibank is committed to working towards a society where there is equality in health and wellbeing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. To achieve this, Medibank believes in working in partnership with Indigenous people though a whole-community effort.
Medibank is proud to have been the first private health insurer to release a Reconciliation Action Plan, in 2012. Since then we have taken positive steps to bring our commitment towards reconciliation to life. The third Reconciliation Action Plan, released July 2014, expands on the actions we have completed so far and sets new goals to help drive greater health equality for all Australians.
(Above: Yalari scholarship students.)
Working together to Close the Gap
New Medibank research found that 87 per cent of Australians surveyed know there is a gap in the life expectancy of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows that this gap sits at 10.6 years for males and 9.5 years for females.
“People know there is a problem. The fact that the majority of respondents overestimated the gap would appear to indicate a high level of awareness that a problem exists and that this is a significant issue that needs to be addressed in this country,” says Kate Malpass, Medibank Indigenous Advisor and the 2013 NAIDOC Youth of the Year.
“This is a whole-of-community issue. It requires actions across institutions – governments, corporations and individuals – to do what they can to change life expectancy outcomes for Indigenous people, to create parity in life expectancy for all Australians.
“As a member of the Medibank RAP Advisory Council it has been a privilege to help guide the organisation through the development of its efforts to help close the gap.”
Medibank Reconciliation Action Plan, 2014-2016
The newest Reconciliation Action Plan at Medibank focuses on three key areas:
(Above: Yalari scholarship students on Orientation Camp.)
Through developing relationship with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, we aim to address the challenge of equity in health and wellbeing. These relationships will be built on principles of dialogue, respect, understanding, partnership and reciprocity. We will empower our employees to form new relationships in the community while we continue to work with our current community partners.
Some of the steps we will take include:
- Volunteering – Providing opportunities for employees to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations.
- RAP Advisory Council and working group – To advise and actively monitor RAP development, and shape the actions of Medibank’s reconciliation efforts.
- Building relationships – Deepening existing and developing new relationships with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
- Celebrating National Reconciliation Week – Providing and promoting opportunities for employees to build relationships with the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ community.
(Above: Young chefs in training at the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, supported by the Medibank Community Fund.)
Medibank values an organisation-wide culture based on respect. We understand that in order to help Close the Gap we must respect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ culture and history, while helping others do the same.
Some of the actions we will take include:
- Cultural awareness training – Engaging all employees in cultural learning to increase understanding and appreciation of different cultural backgrounds.
- Cultural protocols – Developing cultural protocol guidelines including information for all staff on how to identify and acknowledge the traditional owners of the land.
- Cultural Immersion program – Providing immersive training for senior executives to focus on Aboriginal health in the Aboriginal community of Wadeye.
(Above: Yalari scholarship students.)
As a health organisation, Medibank is committed to helping Close the Gap through education, employment and partnership opportunities.
Some of these opportunities include:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment – Implementing our Indigenous Employment Strategy to increase the recruitment and retention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees at Medibank.
- Education opportunities – Providing scholarships and other health education opportunities for Indigenous students from remote communities.
- Health partnerships – Granting $100,000 to community programs aimed at improving the health of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.
Medibank is proud to support the health and wellbeing of the indigenous community through a number of initiatives, including a partnership with Indigenous education provider Yalari and Indigenous funding grants provided annually through the Medibank Community Fund.