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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 2021–2031
The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2021–2023 is the main policy document for improving health and wellbeing outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
In line with the new National Agreement on Closing the Gap, it focuses on:
- identifying opportunities to strengthen and prioritise the community controlled health sector
- outlining the necessary processes for mainstream health services to provide culturally safe and responsive care.
We developed the plan in full and genuine partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This makes sure it reflects what is important to them and their point of view. The plan takes a bigger picture and strengths-based approach that supports the cultural and social factors across a person's life.
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce Strategic Framework and Implementation Plan 2021–2031
The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce Strategic Framework and Implementation Plan 2021-2031 seeks to grow the First Nations Health Workforce.
The plan’s policy framework and initiatives aim to increase the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation to 3.43% of the national health workforce by 2031.
Co-designed in genuine partnership with the First Nations health sector, the plan aligns with the priority reforms of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap
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.
Social and Emotional Wellbeing Policy Partnership
The partnership brings together First Nations and government representatives. It is part of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap.
The partnership aims to improve the health of First Nations people. The focus is to:
- improve social and emotional wellbeing
- improve mental health
- reduce suicide rates.
The partnership uses a ‘joined-up’ approach. This means it focuses on working together to achieve shared goals.
The members first met in March 2023. Learn more about the partnership.
Initiatives and programs
We fund a wide range of initiatives and programs supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.