Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health

From this launching page you will find information about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health activities.

Page last updated: 20 August 2020

The Department of Health acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land, community, sea and waters where we live and work. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and future and value the contributions Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians make in our society every day.

Welcome to the Department of Health’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health site. The Department of Health works in conjunction with other Government Departments, including the National Indigenous Australians Agency, to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

My Life My Lead Implementation Plan Advisory Group (IPAG) consultations and report 2017

Between March to May 2017 the Department and the Implementation Plan Advisory Group led a consultation process to inform the development of the 2018 iteration of the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023. Further information on the consultations

My Life My Lead: Opportunities for strengthening approaches to the social determinants and cultural determinants of Indigenous Health: Report on the national consultations December 2017.


From this page you will find information about the:

Complaints

Your healthcare rights
If you are dissatisfied with the service provided by a health service provider or are concerned with the conduct or performance of a registered or unregistered health practitioner or service, you have a right to make a complaint. The Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights describes the rights of everyone using the Australian health system. These rights are essential to ensure that, wherever and whenever healthcare is provided, it is safe and of high quality.

Complaints about health practitioners
If your query or complaint is about a specific health practitioner you should contact the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care Service Complaints
The Department of Health provides funding for approximately 210 service sites across Australia to deliver high quality, culturally responsive, comprehensive primary health care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, through the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme (IAHP). These sites are operated by Aboriginal community controlled health services (ACCHSs), state/territory governments, charities or non-Indigenous organisations.

The latest annual Online Service Report (OSR) data from the 2018-19 collection as published by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) in July 2020 advises that:

  • 210 service sites reported in the 2018-19 data collection. Of these, 137 of these were operated by ACCHS (65%).
  • A total of 498,200 clients were seen across the 210 sites.  Of these, 393,100 clients were Indigenous. ACCHS provided services to 398,400 clients of whom 323,000 were Indigenous.
  • A total of 3.738 million episodes of care were delivered and of these 3.045 million episodes of care were for Indigenous clients. ACCHS provided 3.17 million episodes of care and of these 2.6 million were for Indigenous clients.

There are a range of complaint pathways that you can access to assist you to resolve concerns or complaints about IAHP funded service providers.

Step 1. Contact the service provider
Discuss any concerns you may have with the health service directly. In many cases a discussion with the service provider can resolve the problem. If your concerns are not addressed, or you feel uncomfortable approaching health service staff, you may prefer to write a letter of complaint to the organisation’s Chief Executive Officer, Board or Chairperson.

Step 2. Contact the relevant Sector Support Organisation, if applicable
If your complaint relates to an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation that is a member of the relevant Sector Support Organisation (SSO) in your jurisdiction, you may wish to raise your concern with the SSO. Further information can be found at the following websites, according to jurisdiction:

State / Territory

Sector Support Organisation

National

National Community Controlled Health Organisation

NSW

Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of NSW

Vic.

Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation Inc

Qld.

Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council

WA

Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia

SA

Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia

Tas.

Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre

ACT

Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service

NT

Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory

Step 3. Contact the Department of Health Indigenous Health Division
You may provide suggestions, feedback or make a complaint through the Department’s complaint form on the contact us page.

Step 4. Escalate to the relevant regulatory agency
If your complaint remains unresolved and relates to unsatisfactory service delivery caused by possible inappropriate governance or administration of an IAHP funded organisation, you may wish to contact the relevant regulatory agency.

The regulatory agencies are:

National

Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC)
ORIC is an independent agency and regulator for organisations incorporated under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006. The Registrar’s office supports and regulates corporations by:

  • advising on how to incorporate;
  • training directors, members and key staff in good governance;
  • ensuring compliance with the law; and
  • intervening when needed.

Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)
ASIC is the regulator for organisations incorporated under the Corporations Act 2001. ASIC is required to:

  • maintain, facilitate and improve the performance of the financial system and entities in it;
  • promote confident and informed participation by investors and consumers in the financial system;
  • administer the law effectively and with minimal procedural requirements;
  • enforce and give effect to the law; and
  • take necessary action to enforce and give effect to the law.

Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission (ACNC)
The ACNC is the national regulator of charities. The role of the ACNC is to:

  • maintain, protect and enhance public trust and confidence in the Australia not-for-profit sector;
  • support and sustain a robust, vibrant, independent and innovative not-for- profit sector; and
  • promote the reduction of unnecessary regulatory obligations on the sector.

State and Territory

NSW Fair Trading
NSW Fair Trading promotes a fair marketplace for consumers and traders by maximising traders’ compliance with regulatory requirements. It safeguards consumer rights and investigates alleged breaches of the legislation we administer.

Consumer Affairs Victoria
Consumer Affairs Victoria’s regulation roles includes the implementation and enforcement of laws in order to steer the behaviour regulated entities with the objective of ensuring a safe and competitive Victorian marketplace, where businesses comply with laws and consumers exercise their rights.

Office of Fair Trading Queensland
Office of Fair Trading provide for the protection of Queensland consumers in their dealing with business through the regulation of the business practices of traders to encourage fair trading.

Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, Western Australia
Provides advice and information for Western Australian consumers and businesses and is the regulator for some incorporated associations registered in Western Australia.

Consumer and Business Affairs South Australia (SA)
Consumer and Business Affairs SA provides a diverse range of services to: protect consumers; support and regulate business; and record significant life events for South Australians. This includes consumer affairs advice and dispute resolution, and the regulation of a variety of industries.

Department of Justice Tasmania
Department of Justice Tasmania contributes to a just and safe society by providing systems and services for the promotion and maintenance of rights and responsibilities and the resolution of disputes for the benefit of the Tasmanian community. It is Tasmania’s regulator for Incorporation Associations.

Access Canberra ACT
Access Canberra is responsible for the incorporation of associations in the ACT, including the power to investigate the affairs of an incorporated association if there are reasonable grounds for believing that an offence under the Associations Incorporation Act 1991 has been committed.

Business and Industry Northern Territory (NT)
Business and Industry NT is responsible for the incorporation of businesses in the NT, including licencing.

Step 4. Escalate your complaint to independent bodies
If your complaint has not been addressed satisfactorily, you can escalate your complaint to the relevant state or territory Ombudsman or Commissioner. Further information can be found at the following websites, according to jurisdiction:

State / Territory

Health Ombudsman

Health Service Complaints Commission

NSW

Ombudsman New South Wales

NSW Health Care Complaints Commission

Vic.

Victorian Ombudsman

Health Complaints Commissioner

Qld.

Office of the Health Ombudsman

n/a

WA

Ombudsman Western Australia

Health and Disability Services Complaints Office

SA

Ombudsman SA

Health and Community Services Complaints Commissioner

Tas.

TAS Ombudsman

Health Complaints Commissioner Tasmania

ACT

ACT Ombudsman

ACT Human Rights Commission

NT

Office of the Ombudsman NT

Health and Community Services Complaints Commission NT

National

Aboriginal Social Justice Commissioner/Australian Human Rights Commission

Contact

To provide suggestions or feedback please refer to the Department's contact us page.