Third National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Blood Borne Viruses and Sexually Transmissible Infections Strategy: 2010–2013

1.3.2 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples health policy context

Page last updated: July 2010

Under the Indigenous Early Childhood Development National Partnership, signed by the COAG in October 2008, the Australian Government committed $107 million to states and territories to implement strategies for reducing the high rate of early pregnancy in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, and to educate young people on sexual and reproductive health issues. This includes aiming to deliver targeted sexual and reproductive health programs for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (including those disengaged from school) and improve access to, and use of, antenatal care for young mothers.

The Indigenous Early Childhood Development National Partnership complements the objectives of this strategy for young people.

In a broader sense, the Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (OATSIH) aims to improve the health status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. OATSIH is a division of the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. It works in collaboration with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, mainstream health providers and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) to achieve better health outcomes. This includes funding primary healthcare, substance use services and population health programs. OATSIH supports improved management of the impact of BBVs and STIs on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It has so far contributed approximately $10 to $15 million per year for activities such as the employment of more than 100 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sexual health workers, investment in new pilot programs for increased education and awareness, and support for testing programs. Future OATSIH investment will be guided by the objectives of this strategy and epidemiological trends.

The partnership with and participation of ACCHS, through the provision of culturally appropriate healthcare services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, is acknowledged as an essential factor in the success of this strategy.