The current data reveal that the health status of Queensland's Australian Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders remains much lower than that of other Queenslanders.

Overall, the mortality of Aborigines living in the Queensland communities is three-and-a-half to four times ,that of the total Australian population. The major cause of Aboriginal deaths is disease of the circulatory system, including heart disease, with injuries, and diseases of the respiratory system also making major contributions to the excess mortality experienced by Aborigines. For Aboriginal females, malignant neoplasms also make a significant contribution.

The greatest difference between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal death rates is found among young and middle aged adults. The net result of the excess mortality experienced by Aborigines living in the communities is that the expectation of life at birth of Aborigines is much less than that of all Queenslanders, around 17 years for males, and almost 20 years for females.

For Aborigines in Queensland, perinatal mortality is almost twice that of other Queenslanders. For Aborigines living in the communities, infant mortality is almost two-and-a-half that of the total Australian population.

The magnitude of the health problems experienced by Queensland's Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations clearly justifies the alarm expressed recently by the State Minister for Health in foreshadowing new initiatives to improve their health and well-being and 'to bring mortality rates into line with rates applying throughout the rest of the community'.