How we support the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce

We fund programs that develop the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce. This improves access to culturally safe and appropriate health care.

Policy work

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce Strategic Framework and Implementation Plan 2021–2031

A strong, skilled, available and responsive Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce is critical to:

  • an effective, efficient and culturally safe national health system
  • delivering better health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities.  

Governments and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled health sector have co-designed a new National Workforce Plan. Its full name is the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce Strategic Framework and Implementation Plan 2021–2031.

Once launched, the National Workforce Plan will supersede our current National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce Strategic Framework 2016–2023 (Strategic Framework). It combines a refreshed Strategic Framework and Implementation Plan into one document.  

By 2031, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will represent 3.43% of the Australian working age population (ages 15 to 64). The National Workforce Plan’s target is to increase Indigenous employment in the health workforce to reach the same level (3.43%) over the next decade.

The plan focuses on attracting, training and retaining Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the health workforce across Australia. It supports policy reforms, including the:

The National Workforce Plan is guided by 6 overarching strategic directions. These directions support the ongoing development of the size, capability and capacity of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce.

The strategic directions are:

  1. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are represented and supported across all health disciplines, roles and functions.
  2. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce has the necessary skills, capacity and leadership across all health disciplines, roles and functions.
  3. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are employed in culturally safe and responsive workplace environments that are free of racism across health and all related sectors.
  4. There are sufficient numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students studying and completing health qualifications to meet the future health care needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
  5. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health students have successful transitions into the workforce and access clear career pathway options.
  6. Information and data are provided and shared across systems to assist health workforce planning, policy development, monitoring and evaluation, and continuous quality improvement.

Initiatives and programs

See a list of programs we fund to develop Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce.

Also see our page on jobs and scholarships for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce.

Who we work with

To grow the capacity of the Indigenous health workforce, we work with organisations that:

  • provide advice and support to their specific health workforce
  • take part in developing and implementing Indigenous health workforce policies, priorities and programs
  • are working to increase the cultural capability of the broader health workforce.

We provide funding to the:

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet

We provide core funding to the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet. The HealthInfoNet provides easy access to research and knowledge about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. It includes sections on:

Consultations

We regularly consult the Australian public about issues that affect health. Check our consultations hub for details of any currently open consultations for the health workforce related to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

Contact

Indigenous health workforce contact

Contact us with questions about our work to support the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce.

indigenoushealthworkforce [at] health.gov.au

View contact

Last updated: 
18 August 2021

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