Implementation Plan Advisory Group (IPAG) - Communiqué - 9 June 2017

Page last updated: 24 October 2017

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The Implementation Plan Advisory Group (IPAG) held its fourth meeting in Canberra on 9 June 2017 in relation to the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023.

Members noted the outcomes of the My Life, My Lead consultations and online submission process, led by IPAG from March – May 2017 to inform the development of the 2018 iteration of the Implementation Plan and specifically consider the social determinants and the cultural determinants of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

Thirteen face-to-face consultations with around 600 participants took place across the country, and over 100 written submissions were received. From the consultations, the following key messages were identified for governments to address to make a difference:

  • Recognise the centrality of culture and family – as enablers and protectors.
  • Partner with communities to build capacity, embed participation and support longer-term, coordinated, placed-based approaches.
  • Recognise and address the impacts of underlying trauma.
  • Enhance access to health, education, employment and social services by addressing systemic racism and enhancing cultural competency.
In collaboration with IPAG, in the second half of 2017 the Commonwealth will commence drafting the 2018 iteration of the Implementation Plan.

Members were advised of the following recent achievements against 2018 Implementation Plan deliverables:
  • Release of the National Strategic Framework for Chronic Conditions. The Framework can be found at: (
  • Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Prevention and Health Promotion resources have been rolled out through 85 New Directions: Mother and Babies Services organisations and will be made available online in coming months. The resources complement broader activities contained in the National FASD Action Plan.
  • Establishment of a Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention to be housed in the University of Western Australia as part of the recent approach to market for national suicide prevention leadership and support activities.
  • Under Phase 2 of the Better Start to Life expansion, an additional three Australian Nurse-Family Partnership Program sites have been announced:
    • Danila Dilba Health Service Aboriginal Corporation in Palmerston/Darwin, NT.
    • The Institute for Urban Indigenous Health in South Brisbane, Queensland.
    • Nukuwarrin Yunti Health Service in Adelaide Metro, SA.
Members discussed the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s 2017 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework Report (HPF), which was launched by Minister Wyatt on 30 May 2017. The HPF includes reporting of progress against the 20 Implementation Plan goals for the first time and can be found online at: (

Members also noted work underway to develop an online, interactive tool to track progress against the Implementation Plan goals. This tool is now available on the AIHW website at (

A highlight of the meeting was a presentation to members by Dr Ray Lovett, NHMRC Research Fellow at Australian National University, on a longitudinal cohort research project being undertaken at the ANU over five years to examine the relationship of cultural determinants to the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health peoples.

For the 19 September 2017 meeting, members agreed to focus on the 2018 Implementation Plan deliverables that will have the greatest impact on improving health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and addressing the Closing the Gap Strategy targets. Discussion will include consideration of how these will be addressed in the next iteration of the Implementation Plan.
For further information, please contact the

The IPAG has been established to review progress, assess action and identify emerging policy and strategic issues for the Implementation Plan, and provide advice to the Departments of Health and Ageing and Prime Minister and Cabinet. IPAG will play a key role in engaging across the sector for the development of the next iteration of the Implementation Plan.

Membership of IPAG includes representatives from:
  • The Department of Health and Ageing
  • The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet
  • The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
  • The National Health Leadership Forum
  • The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation
  • The Torres Strait Regional Authority
  • Jurisdictional representatives from the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Standing Committee of AHMAC
  • Indigenous health experts with expertise in early childhood health, comprehensive primary health care and acute care.
The IPAG is co-chaired by Mr Richard Weston, Chair, National Health Leadership Forum, and Ms Bobbi Campbell, First Assistant Secretary, Indigenous Health Division, Department of Health.

IPAG’s previous meetings were held on 16 September 2016, 2 December 2016 and 28 February 2017. For further details, please refer to the Department’s website: (

Implementation Plan
The Implementation Plan, launched in October 2015, outlines the actions to be taken by the Australian Government, the Aboriginal community controlled health sector, and other key stakeholders to give effect to the vision, principles, priorities and strategies of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan (2013-2023).

The Implementation Plan is being progressed in two stages. The second stage of the Implementation Plan (2018-2023) will include:
  • Development of Domain 7 – social and cultural determinants of health.
  • Increase engagement and involvement with other Australian Government agencies, state, territory and local governments, the Aboriginal community controlled health sector, the non-government sector and the corporate/private sector.
  • New challenges and priorities.
  • Emerging evidence and opportunities.
  • Strategic response on mental health, social and emotional wellbeing, suicide prevention and alcohol and other drug use.
Social and Cultural Determinants of Health Working Group
The Working Group is hosted by the Department of Health and comprised of policy and program officers from the Departments of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Education and Training, Employment and Social Services. The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development has been invited to participate at a senior level. Other representatives, including from the Department of Communications and the Arts, the Department of Environment and Energy, and the Attorney-General’s Department, will be co-opted in to the Working Group to support the development of the work, as required.