Aboriginal Health

Brown and white turtle

Aboriginal Health – what do we do?

Aboriginal Health, a statewide office within WA Health, is responsible for facilitating a collaborative and coordinated approach within WA Health’s public health system to improve health outcomes for all Aboriginal people living in Western Australia. Aboriginal Health is principally positioned to provide high level strategic leadership including advice for matters which directly and indirectly impact health outcomes.

Aboriginal people make up 3.8 per cent of the Western Australian population, and yet have the greatest health needs of any group in the State.

Aboriginal Health has a key role leading the WA Aboriginal health agenda through membership with national representative committees including the National Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Health Standing Committee (NATSIHSC). It has responsibility to monitor, connect and seek opportunities for WA Health within key Australian Government Aboriginal health policy commitments.
At the national level these include but are not limited to The Australian Government’s National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan (2013-2023). At a State level, Aboriginal Health is represented on key State Government groups responsible for the development and implementation of strategic initiatives to improve Aboriginal health and wellbeing.

These include:

  • State Health Executive Forum (SHEF)
  • Aboriginal Affairs Coordinating Committee (AACC) Health and Mental Health Sub Committee
  • Statewide Aboriginal Health Planning Forum.

In essence, Aboriginal Health’s strategic policy and planning role includes to:

  • promote Aboriginal health is everyone’s business by encouraging all areas of WA Health to embed Aboriginal business into key policy and planning
  • mediate relationships to ensure WA Health considers the broader social and structural determinants of Aboriginal health such as mental health, social and emotional wellbeing, and drug and alcohol related issues
  • participate in cross-government agency discussions
  • encourage innovation and culturally secure best practice across WA Health.

Our vision

Aboriginal people living long, well and healthy lives.

Our intent

Aboriginal Health aims to:

  • improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people living in Western Australia
  • create strategic partnerships to improve the development and management of culturally appropriate health services for Aboriginal people
  • lead systemic change to achieve substantive equity for Aboriginal people which ultimately contribute towards healthy and sustainable communities
  • support a financially sustainable health care system which focuses on preventative health and wellbeing
  • increase Aboriginal consumer, carer and community involvement to enhance access and delivery of culturally appropriate health services
  • provide a cultural lens on WA Health’s strategic activities.

Aboriginal Health works with metropolitan and country health services to:

  • build the capacity of the WA health system, address gaps in service delivery and incorporate Aboriginal people’s needs into all aspects of health system planning and program development.
  • embed Aboriginal health across all areas of health – primary, secondary and tertiary.
  • strengthen efforts across Aboriginal health service areas and influence decision making processes at the highest level.
  • provide strategic high level advice, planning and policy reform to primary, secondary and tertiary health services at both government and non-government levels.
  • foster strong working relationships between the national, state and regional health jurisdictions.
  • grow a strong Aboriginal workforce and develop Aboriginal leaders within the health system to achieve measurable outcomes in the health of Aboriginal people.
  • bring together current Aboriginal health efforts across WA and set out clear directions for the future.
  • establish management, accountability mechanisms and reporting requirements within WA Health.
  • identify what WA Health can do in partnership with Aboriginal community controlled health organisations and communities and other areas of government and the non-government sector, to achieve the State and Australian Government’s commitment to improve Aboriginal health.
  • provide consultation and advice on strategic planning in the areas of safety and quality in healthcare, public health and hospitals.