Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework (HPF) 2012

Executive summary—Tier 2: Determinants of Health

The HPF was designed to measure the impact of the National Strategic Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (NSFATSIH) and will be an important tool for developing the new National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan (NATSIHP).

Page last updated: 15 November 2012

Improvements

Access to functional housing

  • In 2008, 99% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander households reported that they had working facilities for washing people, 94% reported working facilities for washing clothes/bedding, 94% reported working facilities for storing/preparing food and 98% reported working sewerage systems.
  • This varied considerably by remoteness, with 21% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in very remote communities reporting a lack of working facilities for the storage and preparation of food.

Education

  • There was a slight reduction in the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students at or above the national minimum standard in reading between 2008 and 2011. In 2011, small declines in the gap for numeracy were also found for Years 3, 5 and 9 but an increase in the gap was seen for Year 7.

Employment

  • The employment rate for Indigenous Australians increased from 44% to 54% between 2001 and 2008. The definition of 'employment' in the 2008 NATSISS included CDEP participation (6%).

Continuing concern

Smoking

  • In 2008, 47% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 15 years and over smoked. This was a small but potentially important improvement from 2002, when the rate was estimated to be 51%.
  • In 2009, 52% of Indigenous Australian women smoked during pregnancy, 3.7 times as high as the rate for non-Indigenous Australian pregnant women. Smoking rates did not decline by age for Indigenous mothers as they did for non-Indigenous mothers.
  • In 2008, an estimated 65% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0–14 years lived in households with a current daily smoker compared with 32% of non-Indigenous children.

Physical activity

  • There has been a noticeable shift toward lower levels of physical activity. In 2004–05, 47% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 15 years and over in non-remote areas reported being 'sedentary'. This increased from 37% in 2001 and was one and a half times the rate for other Australians.

Nutrition

  • In remote areas, 20% of Indigenous people aged 12 years and over reported no usual daily fruit intake and 15% reported no usual daily intake of vegetables. The corresponding proportions in non-remote areas were 12% and 2% respectively.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 12 years and over were twice as likely to report no usual daily fruit intake and 7 times as likely to report no daily vegetable intake as non-Indigenous Australians in this age group (ABS 2006b).Top of page

Overweight and obesity

  • Rates of overweight and obesity increased between 1995 and 2004–05. Among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 15 years and over in non-remote areas, rates increased from 51% to 60%. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults were nearly twice as likely to be obese as non-Indigenous Australians.

Risky/high risk alcohol consumption

  • In 2008, 46% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 15 years and over reported drinking at low risk levels and 35% had abstained from drinking alcohol in the 12 months prior to the survey. A further 17% reported drinking at chronic risky/high risk levels in the past 12 months, representing no significant change since 2002 (15%).

Overcrowding in housing

  • Approximately 25% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples live in overcrowded households. Overcrowding rates are significantly higher in remote areas than in non-remote areas.

Education

  • Despite some improvements in literacy and numeracy, the proportion of Indigenous students achieving the reading, writing and numeracy benchmarks in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 remain below the corresponding proportions for all students.

Unemployment

  • The unemployment rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples increased between 2001 and 2008 from 7% to 11%. Unemployment rates continue to remain higher than corresponding rates for non-Indigenous Australians.

Low income and the distribution of income

  • In 2008, 49% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples were in the bottom 20% of mean equivalised household incomes. The corresponding rate in 2006 was 40%.

Community safety

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are more likely to experience exposure to violence, child abuse and neglect, and contact with the criminal justice system (including imprisonment) than other Australians.

Transport

  • Fewer Indigenous households in non-remote areas (50%) had ready access to motor vehicles (i.e., garaged or parked at or near their dwelling) compared with non-Indigenous households (85%).
  • In 2008, 10% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 15 years and over reported transport/distance as the reason they did not access services. Transport/distance was a bigger issue for those living in remote areas (19%) than those living in non-remote areas (7%).
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