Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health


These pages have information about the work of the Office of Aboriginal Health Policy and Engagement (OAHPE).

Our context

The Northern Territory (NT) has one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse populations. Its demographic profile is spread over vast geographical distances with a high number of Aboriginal people living in regional and remote areas.

Aboriginal people make up 30 per cent of Territory's population and yet currently reflect 70 per cent of consumers in the NT health system. This presents particular challenges around the delivery of integrated and consumer-centred care that is accessible, effective, culturally safe and responsive.

Aboriginal people experience some of the poorest health outcomes of all Australians. Compared to non-Aboriginal people, Aboriginal Australians have a shorter life expectancy, are more likely to be of low birth weight, to die before the age of five, to have a chronic disease or condition and to have a number of risk factors for poor health and wellbeing.

Improving Aboriginal health and wellbeing is a complex challenge. In committing to making a difference it is important the department acknowledges and respects the interests of Aboriginal people as Australia's first peoples. This acknowledgement and respect is essential as a foundation to achieve equitable health and wellbeing outcomes.

Significant effort over the past years at the national and local level has resulted in some improvements, but the challenge of closing the gap in health inequality remains. Some of these identified challenges are being addressed through a range of programs, policies and frameworks coordinated through the OAHPE.


The OAHPE provides evidence-based policy advice and leadership to improve health and wellbeing outcomes for Territorians, particularly Aboriginal Territorians..

OAHPE is central to the department's efforts to provide integrated and consumer centred care that is accessible, effective and culturally safe and responsive.

The office supports a range of functions including:

  • strategic projects
  • policy development and implementation
  • advocacy
  • advice
  • reporting and performance measurement
  • Aboriginal workforce development
  • increasing Aboriginal community control of primary health care services.

OAHPE consists of four units:

  • Aboriginal Health Policy
  • Aboriginal Workforce Development
  • Stakeholder Engagement and Consumer Participation
  • Pathways to Community Control (primary health care service transition).

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Last updated: 13 December 2016

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