The Honourable Nicola Roxon BA/LLB (Hons), GAICD
On 8 September, I was appointed Chair of the AIHW Board. I am looking forward to the opportunity to lead such a reputable and trusted institution, and to carry forward our work as leaders in health and welfare data and analysis. On behalf of the board, I would like to thank my predecessor Louise Markus, whose term concluded in December 2022, for her valuable contribution to the institute during her term as chair and wish her well for the future. I also wish to thank Erin Lalor for her oversight over the last few months in her role as acting Board Chair.
I look forward to building on the strong performance of the institute in recent years, as we continue to improve the quality of, and access to, health and welfare data.
The board has fulfilled its governance and compliance responsibilities this year, including endorsement of the financial and performance statements, the corporate plan and risk management framework, with our major achievements highlighted in this report.
Our consolidated revenue exceeded $100 million for the first time, a reflection of the significant contribution the institute continues to make to Australia’s health and welfare evidence base. With this increase, we published our first modern slavery statement, demonstrating our ongoing commitment to mitigate modern slavery risks in our operations, procurement activities and supply chains.
Against the backdrop of a pandemic, rapid institute growth and technology advancements, the way we work and do business continues to evolve. In keeping pace with this transition, the AIHW technology strategy was updated, setting an ambitious agenda for ICT investment and priorities for the next 3 years. This includes a strong focus on building resilience to the increased threat of cyber-attacks while maturing our digital capabilities to achieve our strategic goals.
The board continues to explore opportunities to move towards a truly national data linkage system that supports efficient, safe, legal and ethical linkage to support policy analysis and research. We are doing this through our role assisting the Department of Social Services in the delivery of the National Disability Data Asset and our role in delivering a new National Health Data Hub.
This year we made significant progress on Closing the Gap priority reform 4 – shared access to data and information at a regional level, through the Community Data Project. The project aims to provide communities with locally relevant data to monitor progress towards Closing the Gap, which will make a significant contribution to empower communities to make data-driven decisions. We will continue to work with First Nations organisations to build data capabilities, improve access to data, and share learnings.
The institute is highly regarded, trusted and valued by its stakeholders. Over the past 12 months the board has paid close attention to our stakeholders’ ongoing needs to ensure our work continues to make an impact in decision making. One area of focus for us this year has been to take steps to improve AIHW Ethics Committee project approval timeframes and we will continue to prioritise this in 2023–24.
On behalf of the board, I extend my recognition and gratitude to the institute’s staff for their dedication, expertise and valued contribution to the institute’s achievements over the last 12 months.
I look forward to working with the AIHW Chief Executive Officer Rob Heferen and his team in the years ahead to fulfil new opportunities and meet challenges, further strengthening our role as the authoritative source of health and welfare information in Australia.