The Overcoming Indigenous disadvantage report measures the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
This comprehensive report card measures where things have improved (or not) against 52 indicators across a range of areas including governance, leadership and culture, early childhood, education, economic participation, health, home environment and safe and supportive communities. The report includes case studies on governance, with a specific focus on identifying arrangements that support shared decision-making between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and Australian governments.
This report was produced in consultation with all Australian governments, the Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Organisations and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and organisations.
In many areas outcomes have improved for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
- Mortality rates for children improved between 1998 and 2018, particularly for 0<1 year olds, whose mortality rates more than halved (from 13 to 5 deaths per 1000 live births).
- Education improvements included increases in the proportion of 20–24 year olds completing year 12 or above (from 2008 to 2018‑19) and the proportion of 20–64 year olds with or working towards post‑school qualifications (almost doubling from 2002 to 2018‑19).
- From 2014 to 2018, more people in the general community felt it was important to know about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures and more people rated their level of knowledge of both as high.
But in some areas outcomes have not improved for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
- Rates of children in out-of-home care have almost tripled in the past 15 years (60 per 1000 children in 2018-19).
- The proportion of adults reporting high levels of psychological distress increased from 27 per cent in 2004-05 to 31 per cent in 2018-19, and the rate of deaths from suicide and self-harm increased by 40 per cent over the decade to 2018.
- The adult imprisonment rate increased 72 per cent between 2000 and 2019, and whilst the youth detention rate has decreased it is still 22 times the rate for non-Indigenous youth.
Connection to culture is a key to many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s identity and strength. These cultures are a foundation on which wellbeing can continue to be built.
Common characteristics of approaches that appear to be successful in improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people include:
- Enabling Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to share in decision‑making on things that affect them.
- Addressing laws, policies, and practices that operate to the detriment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
- Ongoing government investment, collaboration and coordination.
- Ensuring access to effective culturally safe services, at the right time and suited to the local context.
- Addressing racism and discrimination in the Australian community, through structural changes, and building knowledge and education.