The rate of access to and utilization of Commonwealth-funded health services in Indigenous communities is measured and presented in this report.
The Australian Government supports various service providers who deliver health care aimed at Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in many locations around Australia. These services include primary health care services, stand-alone substance use rehabilitation and treatment services, and Bringing Them Home and Link Up counselling services.
Access to primary health care is critical for preventing ill health, effectively managing chronic disease, and improving health outcomes to close the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care services generally provide comprehensive primary health care. This includes access to doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, social and emotional wellbeing staff, and medical specialists. In addition, some receive funding to provide substance use services. Some primary health care services do not provide comprehensive primary health care but focus on specific activities such as health promotion programs, maternal and child health care, and social and emotional wellbeing.
Tobacco, alcohol and substance misuse are major risk factors for chronic disease, and can have a significant effect on the safety, health and wellbeing of individuals, families and communities. Indigenous stand-alone substance use services funded under the Substance Use Program are delivered in a variety of settings including residential and non-residential treatment and rehabilitation services, primary health care services, sobering-up shelters and transitional aftercare programs.
Bringing Them Home and Link Up counsellors help individuals, families and communities affected by past practices of the forced removal of children from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families to reunite with their families, culture and community, and to restore their social and emotional wellbeing. The Bringing Them Home Counsellor Program provides counselling and other related services to individuals and families. Link Up services support people in tracing, locating and reuniting with their families.