Review of Australian Government Health Workforce Programs

Chapter 5: Supporting the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce

Page last updated: 24 May 2013

This chapter provides an overview of the current status of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce and Commonwealth health workforce programs that are intended to strengthen Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce capacity and improve the ability of the broader health workforce to address the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The recommendations within this chapter have been informed by consultations with key stakeholders during this review.

The chapter focuses predominantly on the allocation of funding from the Health Workforce Fund (HWF) to support the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce.

Within the Health portfolio, the Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (OATSIH) is responsible for overall health policy regarding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. OATSIH is currently developing the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan (the Health Plan), which includes consideration of developing the health workforce as a key issue.

The Health Workforce Division (HWD) is tasked with contributing to increasing the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the health workforce, increasing the retention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the health workforce, supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health professional organisations to play an active leadership role in health workforce development, and ensuring health education and training equips health professionals with the knowledge, skills and understanding to provide culturally appropriate care.