The health and welfare of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, an overview 2011

The health and welfare of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, an overview 2011 Report

  • Author(s): Australian Institute of Health and Welfare,
  • Published: 2011
  • Publisher: Australian Insitute of Health and Welfare

Abstract: This report draws upon the latest available data to provide a contemporary perspective of the health and welfare of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, presenting a statistical picture of health and welfare in terms of determinants, outcomes and interventions. The 2006 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population was estimated to be about 517,000, constituting 2.5% of the total Australian population. Torres Strait Islander people represented about 10% of the Indigenous population (ABS 2008a). Distributed across the continent, Indigenous Australians are one of the most linguistically and culturally diverse populations in the world. Indigenous Australians experience disproportionate levels of educational, employment and social disadvantage. Many Indigenous Australians also experience poorer health than other Australians, often dying at much younger ages, with an estimated life expectancy gap of 9.7 years for females and 11.5 years for males (ABS 2009e). While summary measures of life expectancy and mortality are the most widely used indicators of a population’s health and welfare, disease prevalence, social and emotional wellbeing, and issues of functioning and disability are also highly relevant. A variety of underlying factors contribute towards health and welfare (referred to as determinants). A healthy beginning in a nurturing environment, with protection from physical and mental abuse, and opportunities for personal development—such as education and employment—are all important for a long and happy life. In view of persistent and chronic disadvantage, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to six specific targets and timelines for closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians (Box 1.1). Various interventions are aimed at improving health and welfare. These include promotional activities, preventative strategies, remedial action and the provision of appropriate assistance and care.

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Suggested Citation
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, , 2011, The health and welfare of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, an overview 2011, Report, viewed 08 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=3919.

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