Joint Media Release with Minister for Indigenous Health Ken Wyatt
A major report that documents progress towards better health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, was launched today by the Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt.
Minister Wyatt said the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework 2017 report shows some positive results in health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people but the harsh reality is that there is still a long way to go.
“While the government continues to invest substantially and works closely with communities in a wide range of Indigenous health programs and interventions that aim to improve Indigenous health and wellbeing, considerable challenges remain.
“Addressing these challenges requires a whole of health system response and a concerted effort from all levels of government.”
Minister Wyatt said areas of improvement highlighted in the report include:
- decreases in deaths caused by circulatory disease (the most common cause of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people);
- decreases in deaths caused by kidney disease;
- a decrease in smoking rates, including smoking during pregnancy;
- a decrease in drinking at risky levels;
- a narrowing of the gap in Year 12 or equivalent attainment rate; and
- increases in the number of health assessments and chronic disease management services claimed through Medicare.
Areas of concern include:
- a widening of the gap for deaths related to selected chronic diseases, particularly cancer and end-stage kidney disease;
- a continuing higher burden of disease among First Australians (2.3 times the non-Indigenous rate);
- a significant increase in Indigenous suicide rates;
- high rates of people who are overweight or obese;
- high rates of disability;
- high levels of undiagnosed high blood pressure;
- high blood sugar levels among those diagnosed with diabetes (indicating the condition is not well managed);
- high rates of discharge from hospital against medical advice; and
- lower access to procedures in hospitals.
“We have the evidence and it is now up to all of us in this sector and beyond to continue to make inroads in Indigenous health matters,” Minister Wyatt said.
“We also have to make sure that where gains have been made, that we build on these very encouraging results.
“Our universal health system is a source of national pride but it will only be truly universal if we can close the gap on Indigenous health.”
Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, said the Coalition Government was working with state and territory governments and communities across the country to improve outcomes in areas such as housing, community safety, education and employment that in turn will help to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“This is work that cuts across all portfolios and all levels of governments and will contribute to improving the overall health and wellbeing of individual Indigenous people, as well as their families and communities,” Minister Scullion said.
The 2017 report has been prepared by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet under the auspices of the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council (AHMAC). The report was produced in close consultation with the Department of Health, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), states and territories, the Australian Bureau of Statistics and non-government stakeholders.
It also provides comprehensive analysis on the key issues of relevance to the Indigenous Advancement Strategy including education, employment, community safety, mothers and babies, housing and juvenile justice.
“This report is accompanied by a dynamic data visualisation tool and online data tables covering a wide range of data for each measure produced by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare,” Minister Wyatt said.
“This tool will make the report more accessible and assist users to explore the data and create charts for each measure in the HPF.”
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework 2017 report is available at http://www.dpmc.gov.au/hpf
The AIHW associated online tables and data visualisation tool are available at: