How we support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health
Improving Indigenous health is a national priority. We work in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to develop and implement strategies, programs and initiatives to improve health and wellbeing.
See our COVID-19 advice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and remote communities. You can subscribe to our newsletter to keep up to date with changes.
Action to improve health outcomes
We are working in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to improve health outcomes through:
- working towards the Priority Reform commitments under the National Agreement on Closing the Gap
- supporting the delivery of culturally appropriate, high-quality essential health services
- implementing targeted efforts to improve health outcomes, including through smoking cessation and chronic disease management programs.
The Australian Government will spend $4.1 billion on Indigenous-specific health initiatives to 2022–23, including the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme.
We fund Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs) and other providers to better support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through their healthcare journey. ACCHSs are strong leaders in providing culturally appropriate health care.
The broader health system also has a vital role to play in providing access to culturally safe and appropriate care.
We fund services to make sure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can access culturally appropriate health care at any life stage, all across Australia. This includes:
- pregnancy and early childhood support to make sure kids get a good start
- primary health care to prevent disease and reduce hospital visits
- delivering ear and eye health programs
- targeted chronic disease management programs
- targeted action to tackle smoking and tobacco use.
Closing the Gap
The National Agreement on Closing the Gap is a commitment by all Australian governments and the Coalition of Peaks to improve the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The National Agreement includes 4 Priority Reforms that will guide our work moving forward. These include:
- Priority Reform 1 – Formal partnerships and shared decision making
- Priority Reform 2 – Building the community controlled sector
- Priority Reform 3 – Transforming government organisations
- Priority Reform 4 – Shared access to data and information at a regional level.
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan
The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan sets the overarching policy framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.
We developed the health plan to:
- build links with other major Commonwealth health activities
- identify focus areas to guide efforts to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.
The health plan is currently being refreshed and we expect to finalise it in mid-2021.
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce Strategic Framework and Implementation Plan 2021–2031
We are working on an update to our current National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce Strategic Framework (2016–2023). The updated strategic framework and implementation plan will be in place from late 2021 to 2031.
National Framework for Health Services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Families
The National Framework for Health Services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Families provides guidance for:
- policy and program design
- development and implementation of services.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework
Since 2006, we have worked with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to produce the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework (HPF) report every 2 to 3 years.
The HPF monitors progress in:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes
- health system performance
- the broader determinants of health (such as employment, education and safety).
The HPF is a comprehensive source of evidence designed to inform policy, planning, program development and research. Reports include data analysis drawn from more than 60 data collections and findings from research and evaluations. Reports analyse the implications of the evidence for government, health services and the research sector.
The HPF consists of 68 measures across 3 tiers:
- Tier 1 – Health status and outcomes
- Tier 2 – Determinants of health
- Tier 3 – Health system performance.
The National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) publish HPF reports on a dedicated website. The website is a dynamic and flexible resource, providing greater access to the data and analysis. It includes all previous HPF publications and allows updates to be uploaded more regularly in the future.
Initiatives and programs
We fund a wide range of initiatives and programs supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.