National Strategic Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health 2003-2013

Appendix 1 - Aims priorities and principles of the National Strategic Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health 2003-2013

To ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples enjoy a healthy life equal to that of the general population that is enriched by a strong living culture, dignity and justice.

Page last updated: 30 August 2011


  1. Increase life expectancy to a level comparable with non-Indigenous Australians.
  2. Decrease mortality rates in the first year of life and decrease infant morbidity by:
    • Reducing relative deprivation; and
    • Improving well being and quality of life.
  3. Decrease all-causes mortality rates across all ages.
  4. Strengthen the service infrastructure essential to improving access by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to health services and responding to:
      • Chronic disease, particularly cardiovascular disease, renal disease, diseases of the endocrine system (such as diabetes), respiratory disease and
      • cancers;
      • Communicable disease, particularly infections in children and the elderly, sexually transmissible infections and blood borne diseases (including Hepatitis C);
      • Substance misuse, mental disorder, stress, trauma and suicide;
      • Injury and poisoning;
      • Family Violence, including child abuse and sexual assault; and
      • Child and maternal health and male health.


The immediate priority areas for government action listed below have been adopted by all governments with the support of peak Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations.
  • Strengthening comprehensive primary health care;
  • Improving emotional and social health and well-being with particular emphasis on addressing the following:
      – Mental health problems and suicide;
      – The protection of children from abuse and violence;
      – Responses to alcohol, smoking, substance and drug misuse ; and
      – Male health ;
  • Addressing the pre-determinants of chronic disease in adult populations with particular attention to:
      – Nutrition and Physical Activity;
      – Child and Maternal Health;
      – Oral Health; and
      – Environmental Health;
  • Improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in custodial settings;
  • Data availability and of page


The Foreword to the National Strategic Framework contains a set of overarching national principles, endorsed by the Australian Health Ministers’ Conference, which the Australian Government continues to support. In addition, the following principles, adopted by the Australian Government in its response to the Commonwealth Grants Commission’s Report on Indigenous Funding (2002), underpin the allocation of resources to address the disadvantage experienced by Indigenous Australians and supplement the National Strategic Framework principles.
  1. The design and delivery of services to meet Indigenous needs should be flexible and undertaken on the basis of partnerships and shared responsibilities with Indigenous people in a culturally and locationally appropriate way.
  2. The development of a long term perspective in the funding, design and implementation of programs and services to provide a secure context for setting goals.
  3. Access to services will be provided on the basis of need and equity to all Australians including Indigenous Australians, with a clear focus on achieving measurable outcomes.
  4. Mainstream programs and services have the same responsibility to assist Indigenous Australians as other Australians.
  5. The resources needed to address the specific disadvantage faced by Indigenous clients whether delivered through the mainstream or Indigenousspecific services, can be greater than for other clients, especially in rural and remote locations.
  6. Where mainstream services are unable to effectively meet the needs of Indigenous people (whether due to geographic limits to availability or other barriers to access) additional Indigenous-specific services are required.
  7. Overall capacity to achieve outcomes is an important factor when considering whether Indigenous-specific programs and services should be established to meet identified need or whether to enhance mainstream programs.
  8. Coordination or service delivery within and between governments.
  9. Improving community capacity is a key factor in achieving sustainable outcomes for Indigenous communities.
  10. Data collection systems require continuous improvement to ensure performance reporting on key Indigenous outcomes is of a high standard and enables resource allocation to be better aligned with identified need, including geography.