Indigenous Australians’ Health Program

The Australian Government Department of Health through the Indigenous Health Division (IHD) is committed to the delivery of high quality essential health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Page last updated: 13 December 2017

Indigenous Australians’ Health Program

The Indigenous Health Division is responsible for the Indigenous Australians’ Health Program, which commenced on 1 July 2014. This Program consolidated four Indigenous health funding streams: primary health care base funding; child and maternal health activities; Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory (Health); and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Chronic Disease Fund.

The following themes comprise the Program:

  • Primary Health Care Services;
  • Improving Access to Primary Health Care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People;
  • Targeted Health Activities;
  • Capital Works; and
  • Governance and System Effectiveness.

The Guidelines for the Program provide an overview of the arrangements for the administration of, and activities that may be funded under, the Program.

PDF version: Indigenous Australians’ Health Program Guideline (PDF 501 KB)
Word version: Indigenous Australians’ Health Program Guideline (Word 710 KB)

The Department is inviting applicants to apply for funding under the Indigenous Australians’ Health Program Guidelines. There are two targeted competitive processes with funding available to a small number of potential recipients based on the specific requirements of the activities.

New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services

Funding Round H1617G009

Policy Overview

Through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), the Australian Government has committed to seven targets to close the gap in disadvantage between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians across health, education and employment. Two of these targets relate directly to the Health Portfolio: to close the gap in life expectancy within a generation (by 2031); and to halve the gap in mortality rates for Indigenous children under five within a decade (by 2018). This involves working in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and organisations, and in collaboration with State and Territory Governments.

On 1 July 2014, the Australian Government established the Indigenous Australians’ Health Program (IAHP), consolidating four existing funding streams: primary health care funding, child and maternal health programs, Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory (Health) and programs covered by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Chronic Disease Fund.

In providing funding for child and maternal health care in particular, the Australian Government invested in the Better Start to Life approach. Through the IAHP, the Better Start to Life approach involves the phased expansion of two established maternal, child and family health activities: the Australian Nurse Family Partnership Program and New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services.

The Program is a child and maternal health care program that supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and early childhood development to ensure children are ready to learn when they start school through providing access to services in five priority areas:

  1. antenatal care and postnatal care;
  2. standard information about baby care;
  3. practical advice and assistance with breastfeeding, nutrition and parenting;
  4. monitoring of developmental milestones, immunisation status and infections; and
  5. health checks and referrals to treatment for Indigenous children before starting school.

The number of Program sites were expanded in 2015-16 as part of a planned roll-out and two more phases of site expansion will occur during 2016-17 and 2017-18. This Funding Round Summary relates to both the 2016-17 and 2017-18 phases of the NDMBS site expansion.

Purpose

New Directions Services deliver child and family health services in a primary health care setting to improve the health of Indigenous Australians by providing access to antenatal, postnatal and child health services for Indigenous children, their mothers and families.

Objective

The objective of the Program is to provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their families’ access to child and maternal and other health services. The Program seeks to give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and their babies access to high quality health care services in urban, rural and remote locations across Australia with the intended outcome of helping to close the gap in life expectancy within a generation (by 2031) and to halve the gap in mortality rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait children under five within a decade (by 2018).