Health Surveys

The results from the 2012-13 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey will make a significant contribution to the monitoring and evaluation of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Health Plan). This survey builds on the 2004/05 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey by introducing new data collections on food and nutrition and physical activity as well as a voluntary biomedical component that will provide objective measures of nutritional status and chronic disease risk factors. High-level results for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey are due to be released in September 2013 for COAG reporting purposes, with more detailed results released from June 2014. Future surveys will enable monitoring of changes in the health status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and strengthen the monitoring and evaluation of the Health Plan.

National Health and Medical Research Council

Evidence is a valuable tool in making the argument for any policy. The most compelling evidence clearly articulates both challenges and opportunities, providing actionable guidance for policy and program development. As the Australian Government’s peak funding body for health and medical research, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) invests in research through a variety of funding mechanisms including investigator-initiated research projects and clinical trials, broad programs of research, training awards for scholars and postdoctoral fellows, career research fellowships and special strategic research programs. The NHMRC is committed to the supporting health and medical research and stated that on an annual basis, it will aim to commit at least five per cent of its total research budget to health and medical research involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Footprints in Time

The Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children (LSIC) 'Footprints in Time' is conducted by the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs under the guidance of the Footprints in Time Steering Committee, chaired by Professor Mick Dodson AM. The study aims to improve the understanding of, and policy response to, the diverse circumstances faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, their families and communities.

Cooperative Research Centre

The Australian Government is extending funding for the Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (CRCATSIH), providing $25 million over five years from July 2014. The CRCATSIH, hosted by the Lowitja Institute, brings together the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector, government health agencies and research institutions to ensure that research conducted into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health is controlled by, and benefits, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Closing the Gap Clearinghouse

The Closing the Gap Clearinghouse aims to build a cumulative evidence base for what works to close the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage. The Clearinghouse website provides access to the following evidence-based material:
    • a general collection of research, evaluations and reports catalogued by the COAG building blocks (with over 4,600 items currently available);
    • an assessed collection of selected research and evaluations (about 300 per year);
    • Issues Papers reviewing the findings on what works on specific topics (2-3 per year); and
    • Resource Sheets summarising the evidence on more narrowly defined topics and its applicability for specific policies and/or programs (around 10 per year).
Subject specialists are engaged to rigorously assess and summarise selected research and evaluations and rate the effectiveness of the particular activity or program. The Clearinghouse maintains an online register of research and evaluation projects across Australia relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people's outcomes (in progress or completed in the last three years). The focus of the Register is on the projects commissioned or funded by Australian Government.

Indigenous Identification

On 1 February 2013, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released an Information Paper: Perspectives on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Identification in Selected Data Collection Contexts, 2012. The Paper explores factors that contribute to an individual's decision to disclose their Indigenous status. The ABS plans to undertake further analytical work to understand the demographic and non-demographic factors contributing to changes in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. It is anticipated that the first release of the analytical work will be in 2013. Top of page