This report provides the latest information on how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria are faring according to a range of indicators on health status, determinants of health and health system performance. Indicators are based on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework. The report highlights the main areas of improvement and continuing concern. For example, while health assessments have increased significantly and immunisation coverage for Indigenous children is similar to non-Indigenous children by the age of 2, the incidence of treated end-stage renal disease is 4 times the rate for non-Indigenous Australians and unemployment rates continue to remain higher for Indigenous people than for non-Indigenous people.
The report finds areas of improvement in the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in Victoria including:
- a significant increase in health assessments recorded through Medicare since the introduction of the National Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health Outcomes in July 2009
- corresponding increases in allied health care services claimed by Indigenous Australians through Medicare since 1 July 2009. Indigenous Australians have higher rates of general practitioner management plans and team care arrangements than non-Indigenous Australians
- immunisation coverage for Indigenous children is higher than for Indigenous children nationally and is similar to non-Indigenous children by age 2
- some improvements in grammar, punctuation and spelling for Indigenous students in Year 7 and 9 between 2008 and 2011. The proportions of Indigenous students achieving literacy and numeracy benchmarks are generally higher in Victoria than the national average.
Areas of concern include:
- low birthweight is more than twice as common among babies of Indigenous mothers as among babies of non-Indigenous mothers and there has been no sign of improvement in recent years
- almost two-thirds (62%) of those aged 18 and over in non-remote areas have a disability or long-term health condition
- incidence of treated end-stage renal disease is currently 4 times the rate for non-Indigenous Australians
- high rates of hospitalisations due to injury (particularly assault, intentional self-harm and transport accidents)
- barriers to accessing appropriate health care, such as cultural competency continue to remain a problem
- lower access to procedures in hospitals
- breast cancer screening rates for Indigenous women aged 50–64 are much lower than for other women of this age (28% compared with 53% in 2008–09)
- unemployment rates continue to remain higher for Indigenous persons than non-Indigenous Australians (17% compared with 3% in 2008).