Closing the Gap with data-driven regional decision making

We have been reporting on the health and welfare priorities relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (First Nations) people for more than 30 years. We contribute to and strengthen the evidence base for First Nations people across key areas such as life expectancy and deaths, burden of disease, social and emotional wellbeing, suicide and self-harm, primary health care, rheumatic fever and rhematic heart disease, eye, hearing and oral health, and access to services relative to needs.

We are committed to working with First Nations people, their communities, organisations, and businesses to implement the 2020 National Agreement on Closing the Gap, along with other Australian Government agencies.

Our work comprises specific data collections to track improvements being made to address Closing the Gap targets, including the AIHW National Perinatal Data Collection, Youth Justice National Minimum DatasetChild Protection National Minimum Dataset and Community Data Project.

The Community Data Project is a key initiative of the 2020 Closing the Gap reforms. It aims to provide participating communities and organisations with access to locally relevant data to monitor progress towards closing the gap. Secure data portals for each participating community are being developed, allowing for efforts to be prioritised by:

  • supporting the analysis and use of regional data to help drive community development and discussion with governments
  • enabling access to, and use of, specified data sets which are considered important in monitoring the outcomes against Closing the Gap targets
  • providing evidence of best practice in First Nations data governance
  • training for participating organisations and communities.

In the past year, 2 Community Data Project working groups were established in 2 First Nations communities – one in New South Wales and one in Western Australia. 

In 2022–23, we worked closely with the working groups to develop, demonstrate and refine 2 community data portal prototypes to align with community requirements. The first community data portal is under development.

This project will make a significant contribution to empower communities to make data-driven decisions.