In 2013 the Australian Government released the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013–2023 (the Health Plan). The Health Plan’s vision is that the Australian health system is free of racism and inequality and that all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have access to health services that are effective, high-quality, appropriate and affordable. The co-chairs of the Implementation Plan Advisory Group, have created the Report Card on progress during the first three years of the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013–2023.
The Implementation Plan Advisory Group coordinated the consultations between government, communities and the private sector that led to this seminal report. It is fundamental that the priorities identified and voiced by the communities are at the centre of the development of the next iteration of the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013–2023.
- At least 34.4 per cent of the health gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is linked to the social determinants outside the health system, such as housing, education, employment, and interactions with the justice system. This figure rises to 53.2 per cent when combined with behavioural risk factors. This evidence suggests that a social determinants approach is key to accelerating progress towards improving health and wellbeing outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
- The cultural determinants of health encompass the cultural factors that promote resilience, foster a sense of identity and support good mental and physical health and wellbeing for individuals, families and communities. While the concept of cultural determinants of health is less understood than the social determinants of health, strong evidence is emerging on the various ways that culture can support better health outcomes.
- Positive progress has also been made against many of the Implementation Plan goals as of July 2019. All three goals in the maternal health and parenting domain, supporting the foundations for good health over the life course, are currently on track to be achieved. All goals relating to smoking are also on track, and this is expected to have an impact on the burden of disease over time.