Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders experience a health impact greater than other Australians, particularly in relation to chronic and communicable diseases, infant health, mental health and life expectancy. Many of the diseases that contribute to the gap in potential years of life lost are caused in part by risk factors that are more common among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples than other Australians.

Many of the risk factors are preventable, which suggests there is an important role for health prevention to reduce the mortality between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and other Australians and close the gap in life expectancy.

ACT Health Directorate is working to do this by:

  • Supporting local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services to deliver culturally specific and appropriate health, social, emotional and wellbeing services
  • Developing strategic partnerships with key stakeholders in ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
  • Building the capacity of the ACT Health to address health and wellbeing through culturally safe accessible services
  • Providing advice and support on strategic policy issues of national, territory-wide and health sector importance
  • Implementing actions from the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Agreement 2019-2028.

The ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Agreement 2019-2028

The ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Agreement 2019-2028 (Agreement) builds on the strength of the previous Agreement (2015-2018) and sets the long-term (10 year) direction in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs in the ACT to deliver equitable outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

ACT Health Directorate has several actions to implement under the first phase of the Agreement, that target the core and significant focus areas, including Health and Wellbeing and Cultural Integrity.

Actions across the Health and Wellbeing focus area comprise of:

  • Recognising the value and need for culturally based healing programs in the ACT that acknowledge the significance of community connectedness
  • The importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing service providers  
  • Facilitating access to health and wellbeing services and programs for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • Providing opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to participate in activities on Country to promote health and wellbeing
  • Providing information and early support to enable informed decision making.

Actions across the Cultural Integrity focus area comprise of:

  • Establishing culturally safe spaces.
  • Embedding cultural integrity into policy and practice of the ACT Health.
  • Committing to the creation of a culturally proficient ACT Health.
  • Increasing cultural responsiveness, opportunities for authentic engagement leading to self-determination and delivering culturally specific and accessible services.
Page last updated on: 15 May 2020